The Langebaan Lagoon is a hub of activity for this small West Coast community. It is one of the town’s main attractions, and families often visit the lagoon over the weekend as it is a popular tourist destination along the West Coast.
Activists in the area, however, are gearing up to go to court to oppose a commercial fishing venture planned for the beloved lagoon.
According to Facebook page Save Langebaan Lagoon, members of the group are opposing two applications being made to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The applications are requesting to conduct aquaculture operations in the area.
Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic creatures such as fish, molluscs, crustaceans and plants in controlled environments.
“Since February 2017, Save Langebaan Lagoon has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Langebaan community to stop the industrialisation of Langebaan’s Big Bay waters and the resultant degradation of our lagoon, by approved plans for an 884-hectare aquaculture development zone,” the group says in a statement. “We have challenged, objected, educated, researched, organised and mobilised in order to let our collective voice be heard. Unfortunately, our town’s socio-economic growth and prosperity, as well as the conservation of our world-renowned and protected lagoon has been steadfastly ignored by the developers.”
The group hosts frequent fundraisers and are selling t-shirts to raise money for their cause, as the legal battle will be costly. They are primarily concerned about the effects of farm-fishing on the protected marine life found within the lagoon.
There are more than 1 300 people who are in support of the Save Langebaan Lagoon cause, says Inge Frost, a member of the group’s committee. “We have had intermediate coverage over the past two and a half years, with Carte Blanche and Focus highlighting our cause but that was in early to mid 2017. It has been a lengthy process as there are period where not much takes place. The opposition documents, the appeal and waiting for the ministers decision. The story/campaign picks up momentum when there is new news to report on. But now finally we are at the stage where we are going to High Court and thus have decided to ramp up efforts in informing Cape Townians and the rest of the nation,” she says.
“We filed our court papers on 14 May 2019 , now we are awaiting the High Court date. We are desperately trying to raise funds as we are a NPO and the legal costs are frightening. We are very passionate about preventing this development as the lagoon is unique and it is vital to protect the marine ecology and biodiversity. Also economically the town of Langebaan relys heavily on the health of the lagoon,” Frost adds.
To donate to the Save Langebaan Lagoon cause, click here.