FAHB Update – February/March 2017 FAHB Updates, News 3 Comments

The Oceana fishmeal factory continued production intermittently throughout February and into early March 2017 and residents submitted dozens of complaints to the City of Cape Town and Oceana. Please remember, the reason we continue to register complaints is to document the regularity and extent to which people are impacted. Another article was also published in the Sentinel newspaper. Thank you to everyone for the support you have shown and the efforts you have made to raise awareness about this issue.

We have a few important updates.

1. Odour Pollution Impact Survey

In our last update we shared information that Oceana’s Atmospheric Emissions License (AEL) is due for renewal on 1 November 2017. As a key license that Oceana needs to operate, there will be a public participation process prior to the license being granted. In preparation for this, we are trying to document the impact the odour pollution has on our community, and we need your support.

We have developed an Odour Pollution Impact Survey that is broken down into four main components – general comments, health, well-being and business impact. Each section has a series of short questions that help us understand how the odour impacts you and your life. Please complete this survey and share it with your friends and family. We will need thousands of these documented statements to truly demonstrate the impact so please fill in yours today.

You can access the survey online but if you would like hard copies, please contact us and we will provide this for you. This is an important part of making our voices heard so please complete the survey, ensuring that you provide truthful and accurate information.

In addition, please remember to register on FAHB’s website and to sign the petition calling for change. The combination of these three actions will help to make our case stronger and this is why we need your support.

2. Meeting with Hout Bay Councillor Rob Quintas

Members of the FAHB organising team recently met with Rob Quintas, the Hout Bay Councillor. The meeting was very positive and the following information was noted:

  • Restructuring in the City of Cape Town: There has been a restructuring of roles within the City of Cape Town including the appointment of new ‘mini-mayors’ to improve service delivery. Alderman JP Smith, who is also a resident of Hout Bay, will head up Social and Safety Services, which includes environment, sports and recreation. Councillor Suzette Little serves as the area based Mayoral Committee Member or ‘Mini-Mayor’ and Councillor Brett Herron is the Mayoral Committee Member for the Urban Development and Transport Authority. FAHB will be reaching out to these officials and they are also included in the FAHB email list for complaints.
  • Multilateral Meeting: Cllr. Quintas expressed interest in having a meeting between the City of Cape Town, Oceana and FAHB. FAHB fully supports this, considering our lengthy attempts to meet with the City previously without success. More information regarding this will be provided as available.
  • Meeting with Oceana: Cllr. Quintas met with Oceana who confirm they will be installing the new scrubbers at the end of the first quarter 2017 (theoretically the end of March). Oceana has stated that the new scrubbers will not eradicate the odour entirely but will minimise it. This contradicts information we received from Oceana previously where they stated the scrubbers would have no significant impact on the odour. Currently there is no real understanding of what impact this new technology will have, but it is our opinion it will not make much difference. A Community Stakeholder Forum meeting is scheduled for after its installation which FAHB will attend, so hopefully more information will be available then. In addition, Cllr. Quintas said that Oceana will be installing a 20m stack with the scrubbers, which will allegedly help with odour dispersion.
  • Hout Bay Harbour Development Plan: Cllr Quintas recognised the need for a Hout Bay harbour or marina development plan and is working to have this in place. It is important to note, however, that an inter-governmental dispute is underway between the City of Cape Town and National Government regarding control of the harbours and it is unlikely that a development plan will be acted upon until this debate in resolved.

3. Registering Complaints – Oceana website down

Oceana has informed us that their website ( is currently not working. They have had numerous hacking attacks over the past months and are having to rebuild it. This means that you cannot use the website to register complaints. Instead, please send an email of complaint to the City of Cape Town – all the contact information is on our homepage and Oceana is included in the list of email addresses. We will let you know when anything changes.

4. Incidents at Oceana

On Friday 3 March and Sunday 5 March, two incidents were observed at the factory – plumes of steam coming out from every opening of the building. Regarding the incident on Friday, we received this information from Oceana:

“The incident was due to a breakdown which resulted in the plant vapour exiting through the roof and doors. City of Cape Town Air Quality department was informed immediately and the plant was stopped. The breakdown was attended to and the plant restarted. The City of Cape Air Quality department did a plant inspection this morning before 11h00 while the plant was running.” 

The City of Cape Town further explained that this was the result of a failure of a fan motor on a waste heat evaporator. It is important for us to observe these incidents and report them as soon as possible – send your photos to the City and keep sharing them on our social media sites.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please feel free to get in touch.

Please remember that FAHB is run by a group of volunteers and we need as much help as we can get. If you have ideas, skills, contacts, research ability or anything that might be of use, please send an email to This situation will only be changed by all of us working together so please share your ideas and get involved as much as possible.

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Comments 3

  1. Lieveke Koelma

    I think we should start an initiative where a few people are employed to go to each and every household, collect R10 to pay for their efforts in assisting the occupants in completing an affidavit and signing a petition to end this factory once and for all. It is toxic, and is affecting everyone’s health in this community. Our basic human right to fresh air is being violated. The argument that 200 jobs will be lost is irrelevant to the fact that it is now causing untold damage to people’s lives in every possible way. Without oxygen we will die, without clean oxygen we will all be ill and suffer immensely. This is absolutely unconstitutional and criminal and must end. With 100,000 signatures on a petition the City of Cape Town MUST comply!

  2. Ant

    The right scrubbers will make a difference. I visited a waste water treatment plant in Munich, where the only place where the smell was as bad as what we experience from the fish meal factory was in the building where non digestible solids are mechanically removed. Immediately outside that building and in the rest of the plant, there was only a faint smell of much lower intensity than we experience in Northshore over a kilometre away. So it is possible

  3. Jane Parsons

    Thank you all for working on our behalf and doing it in such a professional manner. I am continually impressed by the battle you are fighting on behalf of Hout Bay residents. This problem of the stench from Oceana has been ongoing for decades and has had a dreadful impact on the town and its residents in terms of health, income and general well being as well as blighting the town which would be one of the most desirable places to live if it was not for the threat of the overpowering intermittent odours emitted from Oceana’s factory.

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