Offshore oil and gas drilling pose several very real risks to the livelihoods of coastal communities. The Oceans Tribunal will help amplify these concerns and raise awareness about some of the major threats, such as catastrophic oil spills and gas leaks – which may have a negative effect on fish stocks and other marine life. This may even have adverse effects on tourism, as well. The Green Connection’s research report on the economic impact of the offshore oil and gas industry also shows that job creation in this sector has been inflated, since many of the jobs are not long-term or rely on outsourced skills.
“The fishing communities want to send a strong, clear message to government that the future they envisage includes a healthy ocean, without oil and gas. Development should be done in a way that will not place marine habitats and ecosystems in jeopardy. They also want government to promote and invest in responsible local fishing to help their communities thrive. Ocean health means a healthy planet as we are in climate crisis, we dare not to gamble with the system that sustains our planet,” says van Rooy.
Chairperson of the Saldanha Coastal Links Carmelita Mostert says, “Fishing communities are calling on government to consult with them, to make the time and effort to hear their worries when it comes to decisions about the oceans they depend on. Small-scale fishers do not want karpowerships nor oil and gas in our oceans.”