A warning has gone out to residents not to eat dead fish collected from the Seekoei estuary at Paradise Beach, Jeffreys Bay.
Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said large numbers of fish had been dying in the estuary.
“The water has been evaporating rapidly because of hot temperatures and strong winds.
“Combined with this, there has been almost no inflow of fresh water because of the drought and numerous farm dams that trap water in the catchment area,” he explained.
“This has caused the salinity of the estuary to increase to such an extent that fish have started dying.”
He said the municipality was preparing an emergency application, requesting permission from the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) to breach the estuary mouth in terms of section 30(a) of the National Environmental Management Act (Nema).
He said the Seekoei Estuary Management Committee, established in terms of the Seekoei Estuary Management Plan, would lead this process.
“The municipality has also submitted a maintenance plan for the estuary to the Department.
“Once the plan has been approved, it will enable us to put in place preventative measures to help minimise the chances of fish deaths.”