Friday, 28 September 2012 10:23

Phosphate Mining Under Microscope

WE WISH to convey some perspectives on your article in the edition of 24 September 2012 as it is not only ‘Sandpiper’s impact on hake under the microscope’ but indeed the cumulative effect and impact of all four marine phosphate projects on the marine environment and the fishing industry as a whole.

For months now Namibia Marine Phosphate (NMP) has tried to advance the report of its appointed “fisheries specialist” and his “findings” and “conclusions”. This yet to be identified authority has come to the “conclusion” that the overall significance was considered to be “negative and medium to low”, and above all, “primarily because the area to be mined is a small fraction of Namibia’s overall fishing grounds”.

During the past year we have dealt with many of these and other absurdities and misconceptions so glibly polished by NMP and others in the marine phosphate business. Our views are part of the record. They need not be repeated here again.

Suffice to state that the ignorance displayed by NMP about the full spectrum of marine ecosystems speaks volumes – that of naiveté and ineptness. It proves its misconception of what that impact would indeed be. Thinking that seasoned marine biologists do not have more than enough scientific studies and research data to shoot holes in its flimsy arguments and this “report” in particular. They have spent life times in actual research. They don’t gather their statistics and evidence from laptop studies. They are proud to have their studies published in full with their names and what qualifies them to make profound and enduring evaluations.

NMP is challenged to have this anonymous report subjected to a proper and thorough scientific scrutiny and appraisal by internationally recognized, authoritative and acclaimed marine experts and biologists. Without that having been done such a “report” proofs nothing. It is of no consequence or significance – at least not to those who do take marine matters serious. Let NMP submit this “report” to, inter alia, an authority like Dr Alex Rogers, co-author of the 2011 State of the Oceans Report, who is on record with the following conclusion:

“As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the ocean, the implications became far worse than we had individually realized. This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, our children’s and generations beyond that”.

Let such authorities give their impartial and frank assessments.

The fishing industry, marine experts, marine environmental managers and the public are neither impressed nor swayed by repetitious arguments based on demonstrative fallacies advanced in an anonymous report which remains, unless otherwise proven, but a desk study.

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