The quest to save the unique Langebaan Lagoon from an avalanche of risky industrial developments such as a controversial phosphate mine and a huge aqua-farming development has become a tenacious and interesting tug-of-war between industrialization and nature conservation . . .
Ironically, the fight between so-called industrial progress and sustainable development comes in the midst of the worst drought in over a century in the area . . . as though nature stepped in to remind all that NO progress is possible at the cost of nature . . . and without WATER, nothing can survive . . .
The ongoing fight to save the lagoon also proved the power of social media and action groups who stand UP against political and governmental decisions that pose a lethal threat to the livelihood of the environment and its inhabitants.
Whilst the action group West Coast Environmental Protection Association (WCPA) is fighting non-stop to oppose the water use licence and other controversial issues regarding the Elandsfontein/KROPZ phosphate mine, the group Save Langebaan Lagoon is fast gaining momentum to protect the lagoon from another serious threat – the establishment of invasive aqua-farming structures that proved to have devastating ecological effects in most parts of the world where it is/was practiced.
A FUN DAY to raise awareness of the proposed aqua-culture development last Sunday proved strong support for the quest. (Scroll down for more detail).
On Sunday, 28 May 2017, the issues around the controversial Aqua-culture development in Saldanha Bay will be aired on SABC 2 Fokus from 06:30 PM – 07:00 PM. Don’t miss it!
The Save Langebaan Lagoon group also thanked all participants who helped to make their Awareness Fun Day such a huge success:
How can YOU get involved? Weskusontheline posted the underneath article with the latest updated Basic Assessment Report recently. Read it, join and get involved in safeguarding the unique assets of the place you LOVE?
Langebaan Lagoon . . . the end of an era . . . ?
May 21 2017
Today’s FUN beach day at the Langebaan lagoon (Main Beach) from 10:00 – 14:00 is more than just a family day in superb surroundings – with perfect weather to boot!
The event – organised by the action group Save Langebaan Lagoon – is to raise awareness of the proposed fish farming projects (Saldanha Aquaculture Development Zone – ADZ and MOLAPONG in the Saldanha Bay area.
The Final Basic Assessment Report has now been released after strong opposition against the potential risks to the lagoon from affected parties. Some 185 people attended the public open day. SRK Consulting (Pty) Ltd, who has been appointed as the independent consultant to undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, received 60 comments and some 1 600 petitions in response to the draft BAR.
Key comments and concerns raised by stakeholders relate to:
The extent of the ADZ relative to Saldanha Bay;
Potential impacts on watersports due to spatial
overlap and associated impacts on tourism and
Potential visual impacts and associated impacts on
tourism and property values;
Creation and loss of jobs as a result of the ADZ;
Potential impacts on water quality;
Management and monitoring of the ADZ;
Potential impacts of fish farming, including
introduction of aliens and diseases;
The need for modelling of potential impacts; and
Lack of alternative sites.
Some of the amendments to the Basic Assessment report include:
o Reducing the Big Bay South area by 100% (i.e. not developing the area) due to socio-economic (user
conflict) and ecological (proximity to Langebaan Lagoon) concerns;
o Reducing the Big Bay North area by 43%, to incorporate a 1 km buffer to residential areas at
Club Mykonos and Paradise Beach;
o Reducing the Outer Bay North area by 40% to incorporate a 500 m – 1 km buffer to the Malgas
Island MPA; and
o Reducing the Outer Bay South area by 73% to avoid all areas between Jutten Island and the coast.
In the post-mitigation scenario, the new proposed ADZ area has thus reduced by 70% from 1 404 ha in the
pre-mitigation scenario to 420 ha. The total ADZ, including areas for which leases are currently held (not
all of which are farmed) would be 884 ha in the postmitigation scenario. This equates to approximately
10% of Saldanha Bay (Small, Big and Outer Bay).
Meanwhile, the Big Bay North ADZ area was subsequently amended to ensure that the Molapong application area, located adjacent to but outside of Big Bay North and subject of a separate BA process, is integrated into the ADZ to avoid an overall increase of the aquaculture area in Saldanha Bay.
A Focus Group Panel Discussion about the Molapong proposed aquaculture project will be held tomorrow at the Protea Hotel in Saldanha Bay from 08h45-12h00. The discussion is for organisations who registered or raised comments for the Molapong project in the NEMA Environmental Authorisation Application Process.
It will take the form of a facilitated expert panel discussion aimed at addressing or clarifying technical issues surrounding this aquaculture proposal and the main issues of concern that were raised.
The Final BA Report is now being released for public comment until 19 June 2017. (copy and paste into URL):
The full documentation can also be downloaded from SRK’s website at http://www.srk.co.za/…/za-saldanha-bay-aquaculture-developm….
The public can contact the environmental consultant,
Jessica du Toit BSc (ConsEcol), MPhil (Env Mgmt) at:
SRK Consulting (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd
The Administrative Building, Albion Spring, 183 Main Road, Rondebosch, 7700
Postnet Suite # 206, Private Bag X18, Rondebosch, 7701
Tel: +27-(0)21-659-3060; Fax: +27-(0)21-685-7105
Mobile: + 27-(0)76-133-9776; Direct: +27-(0)21-659-3083
Save Langebaan Lagoon – Media Brief
Disaster Looms for Langebaan Lagoon – Aquaculture Development Threat
Most people associate Langebaan with the stunning scenic beauty of the unspoilt tidal lagoon, its long stretches of pristine beaches and sheltered bays, providing protected waters and a temperate climate for a wide variety of leisure activities throughout the year.
However, this RAMSAR site of international importance and tourist hot spot is now under considerable threat of ecological degradation and certain economic decline from plans by the
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to develop an extensive off-shore aquaculture zone in Langebaan’s bays.
Save Langebaan Lagoon Action Group has started a wide ranging campaign to draw attention to and encourage protest against this environmental and socio-economic injustice. Our role is to educate the public regarding the negative impact that this development will have on the lagoon’s ecosystem, the access to its waters and therefore the prosperity of the town.
Further, our role is represent the collective view of like-minded interested and affected residents and home-owners to the developers and their agents, ensure that important regulatory processes are explained and deadlines are met.
Save Langebaan Lagoon Action Group is not against aquaculture as an industry – we recognise the role that aquaculture can play in contributing to employment creation, food security and addressing the overexploitation of wild marine resources.
We therefore would welcome an on-shore aquaculture development in the vicinity of Langebaan. We strongly object to fish and mussel farming in Langebaan’s waters, which will unduly compromise the numerous ecosystem services that the
lagoon provides to the Langebaan community.
Situated in the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, Langebaan is a top birding destination of international repute. The extensive intertidal area of the lagoon supports up to 55 000 water birds in summer, most of which are waders. The five islands to the north of the lagoon provide a home for
nearly a quarter of a million sea birds, and include important breeding sites for endemic populations. 12% of the global population of black oystercatchers are found in the Langebaan area.
Fish farming operations and infrastructure will impact habitats, breeding patterns, access to food and flight paths and place these sensitive avian colonies at high risk.
The lagoon and the surrounding bays provide a multi-purpose recreational zone and as such attract large numbers of holiday makers, as well as local and international water sport events.
The vibrant town of Langebaan continues to experience high growth rates, as increasingly South Africans choose
to make this town their permanent or second home. The tourism, hospitality and building industries are booming, with a resultant escalation in work opportunities, in contrast to many surrounding rural towns. The fortunes of these sectors and those who work in them will be severely affected by
scores of floating fish factories in Langebaan’s bays.
Whilst the current Basic Assessment Report, commissioned by the applicants, suggests mitigations for a host of identified risks, it falls abysmally short of setting out a rigorous, mandatory, proactive mitigation plan with independent oversight mechanisms. The planned development, sited in a
shallow and sensitive lagoon system, has inherently disproportionate risks of creating numerous
long-term ecological and therefore socio-economic damage.
If the development is not stopped, the iconic expansive, uncluttered vistas of tranquil turquoise waters will soon be industrialised and visually polluted by fish and mussel farming infrastructure spread across a marine area that is equivalent to the size of 884 rugby fields. Largely unrestricted enjoyment of these waters will become curtailed through no-go zones around the fish farms and the likelihood of no-access days due to toxic effluent contamination.
The sustainability of the richly diverse ecosystem of the Langebaan lagoon, and the welfare of the communities who live on her shores, is inextricably dependent upon the health of this valuable wetland system.
Save Langebaan Lagoon Action Group