Radio 2

Angry protest against Colruyt sea farm

The town authorities of Nieuwpoort joined fishers and sailing clubs to protest against the sea farm the Colruyt Group is creating at see off the seaside resort and port city.  The mayor believes the sea farm will block access to the port of Nieuwpoort, while Colruyt group insists it applied and obtained licences following the proper procedure.

Representatives of the town authorities, fishers and yachtsmen blockaded the local Colruyt store to voice their anger at the launch of a sea farm where mussels and oysters will be cultivated and which they say will block access to the port.

“We are raising a black flag to express our anger and sadness” says Nieuwpoort Mayor Vanden Broucke. “Nieuwpoort has been a port city for ever.  Now the Colruyt Group is locking the port out of the sea. If the sea farm is set out where Colruyt plans that will be at a distance of only 2 kilometres.  The harbour will no longer be accessible for yachts and trawlers.  Our port will die a protracted death.  We are not against a sea farm but are against one at that location. We asked Colruyt to look for a different location.  They said ‘No’.”

Bouduin Meyhui of the Royal Yachting Club says the envisaged zone is very important for the club: “We stage all training sessions there.  We need this zone when we organise competitions.  65 different nationalities and up to 700 yachts attend our events”.

Ronny Zwertvaegher’s son fishes in the area: “It’s a good fishing ground, for shrimp, plaice and Dover sole.  One of the best areas in our waters.  We can’t go fishing further afield because we need to be back in port within 24 hours”.

Colruyt had hopes for a dialogue full of respect with all stakeholders and rejects the idea that the carpark is the right place for that.  The Colruyt Group says it did not decide the location.  “Five zones for commercial activities are demarcated in the Maritime Plan.  Colruyt decided to apply for licences in Zone C, followed the procedures and was awarded the licences”.

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