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Expansion for East Cape Aquaculture

by Ellen Hardy
07 August 2008, at 1:00am

SOUTH AFRICA - South Africa's East Cape could soon rival the Western Cape for aquaculture production following a 7 billion rand investment.

The US company Sea Ark last year announced plans for its prawn farm in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).

The company has already been running an abalone farm in the East London IDZ and Wild Coast Abalone at Haga Haga, taking advantage of the strong demand for abalone from Asia for two years, reports the Daily Dispatch.

Espandon Marine also runs a kob hatchery in the East London IDZ.

The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), the province's economic development agency, recently completed a Strategic Environmental Assessment to identify sites conducive to sea based fish farming off the Eastern Cape coast so that it could look to bolstering the province's aquaculture production. These include looking at the possibility of offshore mariculture operations in Algoa and St Francis Bay.

Aquaculture has emerged as a boom industry around the globe, driven by declining harvest fisheries and growing demand which has resulted in approximately 47% of the world's fish production being farmed.

Rhodes University professor of Ichthyology and industry expert Peter Britz explains that the recent decline in the supply of traditional fishery products, such as hake and linefish, is driving up prices and making aquaculture increasingly attractive.

"Expect to see aquaculture products becoming standard commodities and wild harvested fish an occasional delicacy at your fish counter over the next few years.

"Already the menu's of seafood restaurant chains are substituting hake with farmed fish such as Vietnamese catfish, and in sushi bars Norwegian salmon is now the standard. Fresh tuna is increasingly scarce and expensive," says Prof Britz.

Ellen Hardy