Seems that the powers that be have finally acknowledged that establishing a fish farm off Pollock Beach isn't such a bright idea after all. In a statement released on Friday by DAFF's consultants, Anchor Environmental, it was stated that "based on the revised significance of negative economic impacts linked to finfish farming at Algoa 1 Option 1 from ‘medium’ to ‘high’ after implementation of mitigation measures, DAFF has revised its priorities in respect of mariculture in Algoa Bay and has nominated Option B as the preferred Alternative Option. Alternative Option B involves:
So in a nutshell that means no fish Farm off Summerstrand, but a mussel/oyster farm instead. The area, if approved, would most likely be split into a 70:30 ratio 218 ha would be allocated to mussels and 94 ha allocated to oyster farming. Despite bivalve farming having less impact than finfish farming it could still pose risks to the environment.
Thanks to the Rhodes University Ichthyology department for doing some in depth studies into Algoa 1 and showing it to have limited economic viability and a high impact on tourism and recreation in the bay, together with the well-publicised public outcry, it seems to have been sufficient for DAFF to change it's mind.
That doesn't mean the end of things, as the effect of a mussel/oyster farm just offshore the public beaches now also has to be evaluated. As well as the effect of the new fish farm location at Algoa 7, and it's potential impacts on the Algoa Marine Protected Area.
So if you lent your voice to the public outcry by submitting an objection or participating in the protest, give yourself a pat on the back, as at least the worst case scenario has been avoided.
You can check out the shots and wrap on the fish farm protest organised by Adventure Swims ZA here:
The next phase of the upcoming application-phase public participation process (Public Participation Phase 2 of 2), will commence on 23 July 2019. Please submit your comments on the Draft Basic Assessment Report (BAR) by Wednesday 28 August 2019.
You can check out the Draft Basic Assessment Report and Appendices here:
Two public meetings will be held in Port Elizabeth during the upcoming public participation process:
Date: 31 July 2019Time: 18:00 - 20:30
Venue: Main Hall/Reception Area, Port Elizabeth Vuyisile Mini Square, Govan Mbeki Ave, Port Elizabeth Central, Port Elizabeth, 6001
Date: 1 August 2019
Time: 18:00 - 20:30
Venue: Motherwell NU2 Community Hall, Chief Poto Street, Motherwell, 6211
The objective of the application-phase meeting is to present the outcomes of the pre-application public participation process and how comments provided by stakeholders were considered in the Draft BAR.
Here's the updated Draft Basic Assessment Report - all the new info that was included based on the input from the Britz & Sauer study as well as all the public comments have been underlined so it makes it easier to see what's been amended.
Adventure Swims ZA were the organizers of a successful protest against the fish farm over the weekend.
Andrew Stewart gives us an overview of the day:
"Saturday’s event surpassed our expectation by a long way and we estimate that between walkers, swimmers and the rest of the sea faring craft that there were between 2000 and 3000 people. The message was quite clear as a huge amount of people went to the trouble of making placards voicing concerns.
The media coverage was also very good with interviews on both Algoa FM and Kingfisher radio, The Herald covered it both before the weekend and after, and there was a live interview with ENCA and 3 SABC interviews.
Invites went out to the Municipality, The Business Chamber and Anchor Environmental Service, the Company tasked by DAFF to head up the viability process, but none of them sent representatives. In their absence, the memorandum was handed over to the head of WESSA (Wildlife and Environmental Society of SA).
Gary Koekemoer from WESSA who is the go-to guy regarding the fish farm reports that DAFF (Dep of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry), the proponents of the fish farm are clearly a bit rattled by the support and coverage the protest received. Whether or not this will result in them having a re-think on matters remains to be seen.
Gary reckons that could be a long fight, similar to the nuclear (Thyspunt) objection. The best approach is to keep finding ways to stall the process. DAFF still have not launched the plan, but as they have appointed Anchor Environmental Service to conduct an assessment it shows their intent. Gary, as part of WESSA, will be engaging with groups like the Business Chamber and our Metro to get them on board and they also work with other environmental groups to plan and strategize.
A new round of public participation is expected to be opened soon, so everyone is encouraged to make their objections known when the opportunity arises."
Andrew has made some No Fish Farm Here stickers and these are available at the Blu Smooth office (152 Main Road, Walmer )
Add your name to the petition here:
This week was all about the Corona Open at Jbay. Thankfully the comp got blessed with some really lekker conditions and there was plenty of awesome surfing going down. JBay as usual puts on a great show and well done to Koffie and the manne for making it such a slick gig. Just wish Billabong could get the naming rights back - just rolls off the tongue so much easier to say watching the Billabong, instead of Corona Open JBay.!
Local surfer fans were making the most of the opportunity to get some shots with their hero's. A chick in a purple wettie was stoked to be able to get a shot with the legendary Dennis Eliis, and some dude with a bok-baardjie was just frothing to get a picture with the one and only Car Park John.
Dusty was bitten by a shark whilst surfing Port Alfred on Wednesday morning. Thankfully he is doing well and after coming through to hospital in PE, he’s all stitched up and clean. But he's got a long road ahead of him and the Kowie Boardriders Club want to encourage peeps to contribute donations towards his hospital bills. Any little bit helps! It's estimated costs will be approx R140k in total (hospital bills as well as the recovery/rehab ahead). Wishing Dusty a speedy recovery and hope he gets back in the water soon!
You can check out the crowd funding link here:
It's not only sharks that are dangerous in the water - it turns out surf schools are pretty dangerous too! Dave Lippie was out at Point during the week and a beginner had the stupidity/bravery (take your pick) to paddle right in front of him as he took off - anyone that's seen Dave "leap" to his feet will know this is a maneuver definitely designed to curtail your genetic potential.
Some rather gnarly board damage but thankfully no body damage. Not sure that a crowded line-up at Point is the best place for beginners or surf schools. Back in the day we all had to learn on crappy waves at a random outta-the-way surf spot in town til we got competent enough to be unleashed in a crowd.
Although all the attention was on JBay for the week, there were still rides in town.
Also some nice rides north of the equator - Josh Suanders has a short term gig as a surf guide in the Telo Islands and is making the most of some warm water waves.
The view from the hill never gets old. The mini surf city that is set up each year for the JBay Open is pretty impressive. Must surely be one of the best venues in the world for a WSL contest.
Alfonso got to hang with the legendary Sal Masekela. Wish they'd get Sal in the booth permanently for the commentary as he's heaps better than most of the other ou's, having done XGames and ESPN's surfing for many years. Sal is planning to spend more time in SA going forward (he's just applied for dual citizenship) and plans to get involved with development surfing.
Sad to see that the oil spill in Algoa Bay last week resulted in lots of oiled sea birds being brought in to Sancob. These poor lil dudes don't deserve to be the unlucky recipients of our mess. All that happens to the tanker that made the mess, slap on the wrist fine. Maybe if they doused the captain in oil and left him like that for a while he'd better appreciate the mess he made.
Great turnout for the fish farm protest on Saturday - that saw peeps swim/paddle/walk from Hobie to Humewood. Will get a blog post about all that out soon.
If you haven;t yet gone to Jbay to watch some of the surfing make a plan to do so soon, always awesome to see the world's best going ballsitic!
Charts showing a bit of promise for end of the week into the weekend. Hold thumbs.
The week delivered a few surf-able days and then the weekend delivered the surf. And the wind. Pity the two are often mutually inclusive in PE during winter. Some good lines poured through, but you had to have a dik set of thigh muscles to handle the chop. So waves were more hop hop hop thanks to the chop chop chop.
Thanks so a slight kink in the coast compared to our bay, JBay handles the west a helluva lot better. And it was PUMPING out there. The whole WCT circus is in town so there was the opportunity to watch some of the CT ou's getting in some practice before the Corona JBay Open kicks off this week.
There were at least a few less wind days during the week were those that weren't into the challenging wind conditions could at least get a few sessions in.
Gotto wish that ou's get given a Rules of the Surf pamplet when they buy a board. So many new guys paddling around out there that just don't have a clue. Like when you paddle out at a point break you don't just paddle straight to the top of the line-up and expect to catch the first wave that comes through. It's called a line-up for a reason. But guess logic isn't a strong point these days.
One cool thing about having the pro's in town is that the groms get to grab some autographs. Young Kai was stoked to get a snap with Gabe Medina over the weekend.
The start of the waiting period for the Corona JBay Open starts on Tuesday and runs til the 22nd. Here's hoping they hook into some solid surf. Jordy is looking strong at the moment so holding thumbs he performs well at the event. He won it back in 2010 and 2011, so be nice to add a hat-trick of crowns to his trophy cabinet.
It's hard to miss out on solid surf even when conditions are windblown. So the next best thing is to hang out in the car park and talk story, whilst watching a few brave souls try their luck in the bump. The Pipe Crew were out in force over the weekend.
The cool thing about surf is it's always perfect and light offshore somewhere! Like the Maldives for instance! Anyone keen for a surf charter in that part of the world, give me a holler.
Schoenies photographer Luc Hosten posted an interesting lil bit of history during the week. The story goes that a Schoenies resident was returning home late at night during the Second World War, and spotted a submarine just offshore and alerted the authorities. Turns out it was just a uniquely shaped rock. Which from then onwards became known as Submarine Rock.
Frikking mullets dropped about 400L of diesel into the bay over the weekend whilst trying to refuel a cargo ship. Crazy that we permit bunkering ships to operate here. The heavy sea and wind conditions will hopefully move it offshore, but that still isn't great news for any wildlife unlucky enough to encounter it out there in the ocean.
Speaking of mullets. There are those that are still keen to try establish a fish farm in Algoa Bay. One of the sites being considered is right off Pollock Beach. Adventure Swims ZA is organizing a protest swim/paddle/walk protest on the Port Elizabeth beachfront this Saturday.
It starts at Hobie Beach at 9am on Saturday July 13. Peeps can swim or paddle on surfboards or in kayaks from Hobie Beach to Humewood Beach. And those that aren't keen to get wet can walk.
Do pitch up and get involved if you're around. So often peeps like to bitch and moan about things but when it comes to actually taking action they do bogger all. Don't be one of the moaning apathetic types. So if you think it's a kak idea pitch up and show your support.
In between the blustery conditions there was the usual selection of awesome sunrises and sunsets that we are so blessed to enjoy in Africa. Specially along our coastline.
Charts look medoicre for this week - but Spike has spotted a big one brewing offshore at the end of the week - which might throw out something big early next week, so lets see what Neptune decides to do. Taunt us, or deliver.
Plenty of waves during the week. Some solid east swell pulled through and lit up all the usual spots that love a bit of that 160 degree angle. Lotsa chunky stuff at Humewood. And some decent runners at Pier, provided you didn't mind the backwash. If only the municipality would yank out those concrete slats between the pylons and let some of that Hobie Beach sand through to the other side....
Humewood was definitely the pic of the bunch for the week. Crowds went through stages of being thick as molasses to just a handful of your mates. Just had to time things well.
Plenty of action at Humewood, and even some world tour hotties blowing through. Carissa Moore was staying in town for a coupla days with Duncan Scott and was seen ripping the place to shreds. Plenty of stoked locals vying to a selfie or two.
When Hummies breaks you know for sure that another secret-not-so-secret spot further west will be doing it's thing. The locals were treated to the Jordy Smith Show - his first time out at the famed right point. And looking in top form for the upcoming JBay Open - here's hoping he can reclaim his title.
Go check out the Millers Local Facebook page to check out some insane drone footage that Nick Christy captured of Jordy's sesh.
PE also had it's share of barrels. Even Millers had some decent one's.
Pipe doesn't love the east swell as much as further north in the bay, but it still had plenty to work with for those who just wanna park n ride.
Relic surf shop in Baakens Valley hosted it's inaugural Sons of Ride event, which they plan to run quarterly. Some lekker vintage bikes on show, surf movies playing on the big screen, skate ramp, live music and food trucks. A kiff evening all round.
Really really sad to say goodbye to one of the regular Millers Locals last week. Mark Difford passed away after succumbing to an aggressive cancer which kept him out the surf for these last few months. He will be sorely missed in the line-up, as many of us enjoyed long chats with him whilst waiting for waves. After his funeral service on Monday a couple of the locals hunkered down under brolleys in the wind and rain to have a few beers for Mark at the Millers bench. Unfortunately there weren't any waves to ride, but we pretty sure Mark would have enjoyed the send off nonetheless.
JBay local Garth Robinson helped save the day during the Thursday swell at Bruces. He'd taken a drive out of town to go watch Jordy ripping the guts out of Bruces Beauties and decided to get some shots with his old Century 1000mm. After nailing some decent pics he then panned left and suddenly spotted a 23 year old surfer girl caught in a bad rip way out to sea. Garth called the NSRI who were there in about 5 minutes flat (out of the harbour) to pick her up. It was discovered later that she had paddled out at Granny's Pool, got caught inside and had her hair all tangled up in her leash and was then swept out to sea way down towards Anne Avenue and then out in the rip caused by the pumping east swell. Good spot by Garth and quick action from the NSRI and all ended well.
East swell means winds. Lots of it. It takes a special breed to brave those conditions and head over to Sardinia Bay.
The usual lekker sunrises and sunsets during the week to reward the early birds and the late sleepers alike. Charts look interesting for later this week. Say your prayers to the wind gods.