Last year the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) commissioned a firm called Cape Environmental Assessment Practitioners (Pty) Ltd (Cape EAPrac) to facilitate the Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process required in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) for the proposed development of sea based Aquaculture Development Zones (ADZs) in Algoa Bay.
You may well be asking yourself why do we need this in our bay but in fact this is part of a countrywide investigation by DAFF to identify suitable sites for various ADZs. This identified the East Cape coast as suitable for Finfish Marine Aquaculture projects ie marine aquaculture or fish farming. The species likely to be farmed include grunter, yellowtail and cob. It is also common knowledge that our fish resources are under pressure and demand for edible fish resources is increasing.
A suitable site for fish farming must take into account the following:
- Distance from a port (20km is regarding as the maximum economic distance from a port for servicing the farm).
- Water temperature (affects which species are suitable and rate of growth etc.)
- Water depth (needs at least 20m depth to flush out the fish faeces and uneaten food etc.).
- Upwelling cells (large temperature variations kill the fish).
- Exposure to waves (so they need the shelter of a bay).
- Turbidity and pollutants from river mouths.
- Harmful algal blooms.
- Reef areas and sensitive marine environments.
- Marine protected areas (Bird Island).
- Archeologically important shipwrecks.
- Existing commercial activity
Considering the above criteria 6 sites were initially selected, appropriately named Algoa 1 to 6.
Algoa 2 and 3 were rejected as they interfere with the shipping lanes and access to the harbours.
Algoa 4 lies outside the swell protection zone and is rather far from the harbour. This is therefore very unlikely to be used.
Algoa 5 lies in the Addo Marine Protected Area so there are serious environmental impacts. This will require more research.
Algoa 6 lies in shallow water, considerably less than the required 20m. This option has been rejected.
Algoa 1 lies approximately 2 km off Homewood and Summerstrand! Although there are serious implications for tourism and negative impacts for other users, the consultants believe that more research is required on these negative impacts and the mitigating measures that could be used if a farm is established on this site. This site is right in the middle of the main sailing area for both keel boats and dinghies and will seriously negatively affect sailing in the bay. This fact was pointed out to the consultants.
Two further sites were considered in St Francis Bay but both were rejected as being too far from a suitable harbour and as being within a swell zone.
Finally within the last month I have been approached by a firm called Multipurpose Business Solutions who are contracted to provide socio economic input into the EIA in respect of Algoa 1 and Algoa 5. It appears that these are still being considered! My feedback to them highlighted the negative impact on tourism and water sports, particularly with regard to the Algoa 1 site. I presume other business people in the city were also asked to comment.
If anyone would like a copy of the full report I am happy to e-mail it to you with all the maps showing the location of Algoa 1 and 5. It is a pdf of about 45 pages.
I have attached the map of Algoa 1 below.
Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2013/03/fish-farm-off-pollock-beach/