Discovery urges Shell to put brakes on Wild Coast seismic survey

Dean Knox protests against Shell's seismic exploration of the Eastern Cape's Wild Coast.
Dean Knox protests against Shell's seismic exploration of the Eastern Cape's Wild Coast.

Discovery Holdings has become the first major SA corporation to urge its partner Shell to hold off with its seismic survey off the Wild Coast until proper science is conducted on the potential damage to the marine environment.

“It is important that there must be a scientific consensus on the environmental impact of the projects and that the risks and the benefits are totally understood,” Discovery said in a statement late on Thursday.

Discovery noted “with concern” Shell’s intention to conduct the 3D seismic survey off the Wild Coast.

In an explanatory paragraph on its planetary health and board-approved climate change strategy, the group said: “Discovery does not take matters which may negatively affect our marine environment lightly.”

Shell, a partner with Discovery Insure, said it was “reviewing the documents provided to us ... on this issue”.

However, Discovery said: “We will also seek independent scientific counsel and assess relevant external data to better understand the impact this proposed exploratory project may have.

“Critically, we urge more [scientific] analysis of the long-term impacts of this survey be done and more time be allowed for debate and deliberation before the seismic survey commences.

It added: “As a supporter of small businesses in SA, we are concerned about the boycotting of Shell’s fuel stations, since this can harm franchise business run by the small business owners.”

Reports this week said calls were growing to boycott Shell at the pumps in protest against the multinational’s exploration plan.


Daron Mann speaks to Gary Koekemoer from the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa, which has called on the government to immediately halt all seismic exploration off the nation's coastline citing recent research that shows the incredible ecological devastation it could cause.


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