Staff Reporter – The Zimbabwe Daily

Bezaruto, Mozambique – Following massive outcries from the public and environmentalists, South African petrochemicals giant Sasol, has opted to give up its licence to explore for gas in Bezaruto.

Last week, the Marine Megafauna Foundation said the Vilanculos and Inhassoro communities were overwhelmingly opposed to the project due to the high likelihood of negatively affecting marine tourism and fishing.

“The Bazaruto Seascape is  home to the last viable population of dugongs on the African continent.

In addition to the dugong, several species of dolphin live in the region, including the endangered humpback dolphin. Seasonally, larger cetaceans, like the humpback whale, use this coastline to give birth and find mates. This project would have placed incalculable stress on these highly sensitive species.

Of particular concern was the proximity of the project to the last remaining viable population of dugong in Africa, which stands at only a few hundred strong. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) just declared this area an important marine mammal area (IMMA).

Concerns were also voiced about Sasol’s ability to adequately deal with the waste pollution generated from this type of project, as well as the short and long term impacts the various stages of the project could have on the local marine ecosystem and the potential eyesore it would cause.

Moreover, local communities in this region are critically dependent on coastal resources for subsistence and for their livelihoods,” said the Marine Megafauna Foundation in a statement.