South Africa has many challenges and perhaps the greatest challenge is in balancing the need to generate income and jobs while preserving the natural environment.
Algoa Bay near Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape, South Africa is a growing tourist hotspot, especially for those who love the ocean and water sports. However, the Eastern Cape is also rife with unemployment and jobs are urgently needed in the local community. The oceans off of the Eastern Cape are perfect for fishing and fish farming and when the proposal for a fish farm was made it should have been cause for celebration as over 1,300 jobs could be created.
The proposal, though, was not as straightforward as one might imagine as extenuating factors came into play. The conditions to begin a thriving fish farm enterprise off the coast of Nelson Mandela Bay are close to perfect and in isolation, the plan would normally get an instant green light. Instead, a red flag has gone up because while a fish farm could create 1,300 jobs, many other jobs could be lost in the tourism sector as a result. This has posed a tremendous challenge.
Normally the establishment of a business that will create jobs and put food on the table for many families is quickly pushed through for the benefit of a local economy. However, local tourism companies, local residents and indeed visitors who love the waters of Algoa Bay are up in arms.
With a fish farm being established in water favoured by bathers, surfers and divers, the growth of a potential threat could cost more jobs than the farm would create. The threat is Sharks, Great White Sharks. The proposed sight for the fish farm is just 2km off the very popular Pollok Beach and experts believe, that the farm will attract sharks to the area. It is felt that the sharks will not just be attracted to the vicinity of the fish farm but also to the beach and the wider beaches of the area too.
It makes little difference, many experts say, whether a dozen fish cages are in place or over 100. The sharks will be attracted to the waters regardless and as shark sightings increase so people will become wary of the area for recreational purposes. There are many major ocean events that take place in the Algoa bay waters and these could be threatened by the fish farms that may bring an increase in sharks to the area. The ripple effect of a fish farm is considerable.
The verdict on the fish farm is far from being finalised and it is fair to say the process of moving forward is far from straightforward.
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