Looks like good news regarding the proposed fish farm for just off Pollock Beach. Just seen the Appeal Decision from the Minister of Environmental Affairs, and she has decided to revert the matter to the DDG:LACE of the Department for reconsideration. So although not a let-off, it is at least a reprieve for the time being.
In the fight against having a fish farm located right in front of our main tourist beaches (Algoa 1), I'd say common sense has won Round One. The powers that be are at least not going to just barrel forward with their original decision - which was the granting of the approval to go ahead with it, and are now going to do a bit more research. That includes putting Algoa 5 (the site near Coega Harbour) back on the table as a potential location.
In a nutshell, the Appeal was lodged against the environmental authorisation issued to DAFF for the development of the Algoa Fish Farm. The Deputy Director General(LACE) of the DEA authorised DAFF on 9 July 2014 to proceed with the development of the Algoa Fish Farm.
But then all hell broke loose. Cos it is a most spectacularly doff spot to think about putting a fish farm. The 17 000 people who signed the online petition agreed with that.
The reconsideration process entails DAFF (the guys who applied for the zoning) having to undertake the following:
All credit to the Appeals board, who took into consideration the grounds for appeal from all the appellants, the outcome of public meetings, and met with aquaculture specialists, ACSA, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism & Business Chambers, and the Municipality (NMBM) in it's bit to better understand everyone's concerns.
Although the NMBM were pretty late to join the party, they thankfully requested that an alternative site be considered for the project. They affirmed their support of marine aquaculture in the province, but just not at it’s current proposed location. Clap on the back and a beer from us for that one ou's.
DAFF has requested that it be afforded an opportunity to further explore Algoa 5 as a preferred location and do a comparison study between Algoa 1 and Algoa 5, and following this will resubmit an application for an Environmental Authorisation to the Dept of Environmental Affairs.
In summary, the fish farm off Pollock (Algoa 1) isn't off the table yet, but at least the calls been made to have a better look at alternatives. Let's hold thumbs that the outcome will be in favour of siting it elsewhere in the bay.
If you want to read the whole Appeal Decision - you can download it here
DDG:LACE is the Deputy Director General: Legal, Authorisations, Compliance and Enforcement
DAFF is the Dept of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (the applicant)
DEA is the Dept of Environmental Affairs
*The above is my interpretation of the Appeals Decision document. Pretty sure my understanding of it is correct, so hopefully no curve balls I've missed.