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Fish Industry gets boost from R18m Salmon Project

SOUTH AFRICA - Plans are underway for South Africa's largest land-based fish farm.

The project, proposed for the Berg River area at Velddrif on the Cape’s West Coast, will be located inland on the Flamink Vlei property development. Sea water will be pumped to the facility and a integrated production system will be used to recirculate the water and minimise any environmental impact.

A R18M land-based Salmon production unit, designed by UNI Aqua, will benefit Velddrif's ailing fishing community.

The business will comprise an 800-ton per annum Atlantic salmon production unit, a cob production unit producing about 50 tons a year, and a pond-based seaweed farm. The seaweed enterprise, will be used to absorb the metabolic waste created by fish-farming and form an integral part of the sea water purification and recirculation system that will be used to supply the rearing pools.

Saviour

According to the Cape Business News entire project is expected to cost around R18 million, but it is being hailed as a saviour to the areas ailing fish industry. Low catches and poor incomes during 2006 and last year have caused significant job losses and ecomonic decline in the area. The key aim of this project will be for the Velddrif community to become directly involved with the fish farming business through partnerships, employment and management opportunities.

Once up and running, the 6,000 tons per year salmon business will require 235 people to work on site and is expected to support up to 1,200 jobs in further processing at new and existing factories.

UNI Aqua, a danish-based company specialising in commercial 'turnkey' aquaculture business, is spearheading the project. The will install the latest Scandinavian water recirculation technology and advise on construction and production techniques.

Professor Danie Brink of the Division for Aquaculture of the University of Stellenbosch, says the salmon production unit is being designed in a modular way, making it possible to increase production over time to 4,000 tons per year. The possibility of extending the project to include oyster and abalone farming is also being investigated.

South Africa currently imports 2,000 tons of salmon a year at a cost of about R80 million. The Velddrif facility will help to reduce imports of high-value Atlantic salmon ad add value to the regions fishery sector.



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Ellen Hardy

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