Algoa Bay sea-based aquaculture development environmental authorisation granted
08 March 2020
Environmental authorisation for the proposed sea-based aquaculture development zone in Algoa Bay in the Eastern Cape has been granted by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.
Authorisation was granted on 26 February 2020 following a number of specialist studies and an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to determine the likely effects the proposed development would have on the environment. The EIA took into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts.
The process had also included determining appropriate mitigation, management and control measures for potential impacts identified.
Granting environmental authorisation for this development unlocks the aquaculture potential of the Eastern Cape.
The authorisation covers the expansion of the existing oyster farming in the Port Elizabeth harbour, and allows for the opening of two new sites in the Bay.
At full production, the zone can create about 2 800 employment opportunities, and see an investment of R150 million in finfish farming and a R440 million investment in the bivalve culture (oyster and mussels). It will also promote transformation, growth and GDP contribution in line with the aspirations of Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy.
Linked to this development is the expected creation of additional small businesses, and regional economic diversification.
The Algoa ADZ comprises three precincts:
- A site about 2km offshore at Summerstrand, also known as Algoa1 option 1. This site is offshore from the beaches of the southern suburbs of Port Elizabeth (King’s Beach, Humewood Beach, Hobie Beach, and Pollock Beach) and has been authorised for bivalve culture. Longline culture, which involves floating buoys below the water, will also be permitted.
- The Algoa 6 site is located adjacent to the Port Elizabeth harbour and involves the expansion of the oyster and mussel farming operation which has been there over the last 20 years.
- Algoa 7 in the Port of Ngqura is located around 3km offshore, adjacent to the port and is approved for the farming of indigenous finfish only.
The granting of the environmental authorisation comes after a lengthy process started in 2009, and which has seen potential sites withdrawn from the list because of the effects they would have not only on the environment, but also on shipping, bunkering, size and ocean conditions.
The is granting, which had been suspended on appeal in 2014, followed extensive stakeholder engagements and assessments by environmental practitioners, including the effect such an operation would have on reefs and water quality.
All sites are required to introduce management measures to alleviate any risks identified. This includes the establishment of an Aquaculture Management Committee (AMC) comprised of relevant government departments to oversee the management, monitoring and compliance of the environmental authorisation.
To ensure transparency and accountability, a consultative forum will be established to create a platform for all interested and affected parties to engage with government departments and provide input into environmental monitoring results.
Appeals may be submitted to the Appeal Administrator at the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries by 19 March 2020.
The detailed appeal decision can be accessed at https://anchorenvironmental.co.za/node/344
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