Durban’s historic Vetch’s Pier — home to a multitude of fish, mussels, corals and other marine life — is being smothered and "killed" as city workers dump thousands of tons of sand into the sea. Two decades ago, right on the doorstep of Africa’s busiest harbour, a team of marine researchers counted at least 74 fish species at Vetch’s — including rock cod, Evil-eye puffer-fish, Moorish Idols, barracuda and scorpionfish. Local divers and recreational fishermen have been complaining for almost a decade about the effect of erratic sand-pumping operations on marine life at Vetch’s, but the appearance of new mountains of sand over the past few weeks has sparked fresh alarm. The latest pumping operations at Vetch’s coincide with plans for a new multibillion-rand waterfront development and construction of a promenade extension project at the Durban Point, and a separate operation to replenish other beaches that have been starved of sand because the city’s artificial sand-pumping system has ...

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