|29 October 2005
And here we go again...
The 'Gansbaai Salmon Farm Watch' has remained silent for nearly two months... not because of lack of events, but rather because of an overseas trip... but our eyes remained open during our absence.
Following the storm at the end of August, all the remaining surviving fish escaped from the northern cage (the only cage holding any salmon at the time). The middle cage that broke off its anchors during that storm ripped through the northern cage, and as a result all 10 to 15 thousand remaining fish escaped. In a more recent newspaper interview, Joruun Sanden, a Norwegian fish farmer and manager of the Salmon Salar Sea Farming in Kleinbaai, was quoted responding '...like birds breed with pigs...' when asked about the potential problems of having so many ALIEN Norwegian salmon escaping from the farm into the local environment. WHAT A STUPID AND SENSELESS RESPONSE!
These fish will of course not breed with the Sharks, the Seals or even with other fish species... She must really take people for idiots if that is her official response to the question asked! The potential remains that these fish might establish themselves as a new breeding population along the South African coastline. Although this has not yet been established, the very light possibility exists that these fish could find some suitable river system when they reach sexual maturity. And as long as the possibility exists, however remote from previous experiences, the danger is present and real. But what about the fish now until they reach sexual maturity? They will compete with local fish populations for food... new illnesses and parasites may appear possibly... and it is a problem! Introducing alien species into an environment has NEVER resulted in a no reaction situation. And introducing alien species of animals and plants has happened, both on purpose and by accident, all over the world on both land and aquatic ecosystems. There have ALWAYS been dire consequences for the ecosystem and the endemic species!
So now what? The fish farm has lost all its fish... they have been criticised by the media, the authorities and the public... Marine and Coastal Management has been criticised for its handling of the fish farming permit, lack of BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) and lack of monitoring... Surely, this signifies the end of this farming venture? Well, believe it or not, mid-October, the Salmon Salar Sea Farming (SSSF) were getting ready to bring in a new batch of smolt from the hatching farm located in Franschoek! Yes, even though the fish farming company AND the responsible authorities have done and handled everything the wrong way, AND even though all the 60-80'000 salmon from the first batch have died or escaped, SSSF was allowed to do it all over again, and without any additional monitoring or any more stringent conditions attached. This is OUTRAGEOUS and SCANDALOUS!!!
But... There is a but... During their first shipment of smolts from shore to the middle cage, two 2500 litre containers, containing each about 125Kg of smolt, were lost at sea due to windy and choppy sea conditions. More alien salmon in our waters! This is becoming increasingly ridiculous and intolerable... and who did the fish farmers blame? Not me for a change since I was in Europe at the time... they blamed it on the delayed transport from Cape Town which should have arrived in the early hours of the morning, when the weather was still cool and the wind would still be light. If that is the reason, why did their next shipment a week later arrive in the afternoon only and again? The pictures below were taken in the late afternoon of Thursday the 27th of October at around five when they just came back from their last trip to the farm having shuttled four large containers of smolts: