DA joins protests against seismic survey and calls for new round of public participation
There are growing protests against Shell’s seismic survey with even more protests planned in the coming days. PHOTO: PROVIDED
Joining protests against oil and gas exploration on the Wild Coast, the Democratic Alliance also called for an immediate end to the seismic explosions.
The seismic study to find oil and gas, which was due to start on Wednesday December 1 and end in February 2022, will be carried out by the oil giant Shell.
DA Shadow Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Dave Bryant said in a statement Wednesday that the potential environmental impact of blasting on the region remains a threat and has been largely ignored by the national government.
Bryant said a responsible government could not agree to allow large-scale blasting without empirical evidence that marine life would not be affected.
“Local small-scale fishermen have expressed concerns about the potential impact on their livelihoods and indicated that they have not been consulted on the way forward if local fish stocks are to be adversely affected,”
Dave Bryant, DA Shadow Minister of the Environment, Forests and Fisheries
He added that many environmental groups were convinced that the blasting could impact both large marine mammals and small fish stocks in the region.
He said Thursday last week that he had met with concerned residents and local fishermen in Morgan Bay, one of the areas where the blasting is believed to take place.
“Local small-scale fishermen have expressed concerns about the potential impact on their livelihoods and said they have not been consulted on the way forward if local fish stocks are to be negatively affected,” Bryant said.
The government simply could not count on the weak public participation undertaken in 2014 to make a decision that could have catastrophic consequences for the current marine environment of the Wild Coast, Bryant added.
He said the DA called on the government to urgently stop the blasting to allow for an update on public participation with all relevant stakeholders, including members of the local community and environmental scientists. .
Read also | Hillcrest joins fray against planned Shell seismic activity off KZN’s rugged coast
Meanwhile, the Day Alliance of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) said it was also concerned about what would happen if oil and gas reserves were discovered and extraction began.
The alliance added that the seismic survey was the first step, saying if oil or gas were found the second would be exploratory drilling and if sufficient reserves were found there would be extraction.
âWe shouldn’t even start with the first step. South Africa, like the world, must stop relying on fossil fuels. South Africa is not expected to start offshore oil and gas exploration along the wild coast due to the importance of conservation and the uniqueness of the area, there are four MPAs adjacent to the area. proposed study, âthe alliance said.
He added that these areas include: Amathole Offshore, Dwesa-Cwebe, Hluleka and Pondoland.
The MPA Day Alliance said that each of the four marine protected areas protects a unique marine biodiversity with a high number of endemic species.
The organization said the impact of sound from the seismic survey travels great distances in the water, which means that marine life in marine protected areas may be affected, especially in marine protected areas. Amathole Offshore, one of South Africa’s newest MPAs and is home to unique canyons, deep water corals and gravel habitats that are home to endemic sea bream that do not occur anywhere else on earth.
Meanwhile, the KZN Mid-South Coast Ocean Supporters (KMOS) have said they will hold protests on December 5 on the south coast at beaches such as Widenham in Umkomaas, Scottburgh Main Beach and Pennington Beach from 10 a.m. .
The Green Net also said it had organized protests on the lower south coast of KZN, adding that participants were required to wear bright colors and bring their own placards and banners.
For more information on the protests, contact:
Rhonwyn Brayley (Umkomaas) on 082 677 7075
Claire Taylor (Scottburgh) on 076 503 7895
Debbie Anderson (Pennington) on 084 455 0177
Dawn Hutchinson (General Support) on 084 388 6289