The Algoa Bay Yacht Club as well as the DA have voiced their opposition to the proposed fish farm just offshore of Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth.
Eastern Province Surfing and the open water swim community are also opposing the fish farm, which could well obliterate water sports in Algoa Bay.
There is overwhelming evidence that the proposed site poses significant challenges in respect of potential tourism losses, water safety and quality, property values, shipping lanes, recreational water users, water sport events (which generate huge income for the Metro), the Blue Flag Beaches and the possibility of dolphins and whales being caught in the nets to name but a few.
The predator population would also increase leading to many more sharks which will impact on the growing sport of open water swimming in Algoa Bay. In particular, the Bell Buoy Challenge will become history if the fish farm goes ahead.
After suffering the loss of the Apple Express and taking all the problems related to Bayworld and the Red Location Museum into account, the Metro cannot afford to lose its pristine beaches.
The negative visual impact cannot also be underestimated. Possible job losses in the tourism industry are a real probability as well.
There are also massive environmental and pollution concerns. The increased nutrient load will encourage favourable conditions for a plankton explosion. Algae will feed on these nutrients and more vigorous red tides are a real possibility.
“At this stage it must be clarified that this environmental authorisation was applied for and granted to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
No local investors have supported this project to date and we are told that international investors are being sought,” said Ross Purdon from the Democratic Alliance.
“The DA supports responsible development to create sustainable jobs and we must suggest an alternate, more appropriate site for aquaculture.
Land based aquaculture in the Coega Industrial Development Zone has to be the preferred alternative. It is well documented that marine-based fish farming is much more expensive.
There is much more potential for job opportunities and related industries in land-based aquaculture,” added Purdon.