Shell announced it will start a seismic survey in search of oil or gas deposits from Morgan Bay to Port St Johns on 1 December.

On 5 December, small-scale fishing communities from Kosi Bay to Saldanha Bay gathered to protest against the seismic survey undertaken by Shell along the Wild Coast.

The protest was part of a mass mobilisation action where thousands of South Africans took to beaches along the coastline to challenge Shell and reject oil and gas mining and other extractive activities on coastal shores.

The impact of extractive development will negatively impact on the livelihood activities of small-scale fishers who depend on the natural resources of the sea.

“As we have seen in other areas of the country and the world, these kinds of activities can be highly disruptive for the marine fauna, and change patterns of migration and movement of fish species. This leads to fishing communities not having the same access and reduced harvests,” said Carmen Mannarino of Masifundise.

The seismic survey in search of oil and gas deposits that Shell and Shearwater Geo want to implement will have a devastating impact on the ecosystem and the livelihoods of small-scale fishing communities in the area.

“Eastern Cape fishing communities have fought for decades to be recognised and to be granted fishing rights, only to see their natural resources being sold off in the name of extractive profit-making, continued Mannarino.