Judgment reserved in case against Australian company conducting seismic survey in Western Cape

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The Western Cape High Court has reserved judgment in an interim interdict application by small-scale fishers and environmental groups from the Cape West Coast against Australian-based Geoscience company, Searcher. The fishers say they were not consulted meaningfully before the company started reconnaissance activities along the coast.

The company has refuted submissions that the survey is illegal and that it did not consult sufficiently. It has declined to comment at this stage. Justice Daniel Thulare says because of the massive public interest in the matter, he wants to provide the reasons together with his order, at a later date.

Small-scale fishers like Solene Smith from Langebaan and Christian Adams from St Helena Bay, want the survey to be permanently halted.

“Long before Searcher was there; long before the decision-makers were there, we were there. And the oceans belong to us, as long as I live and I think it must go further and further to our generations,” says Smith.

“The blasting is happening in the migrating and as well as the spawning routes of the snoek,” says Adams.