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South African Venture for Fusion Marine

SCOTLAND - Scottish based fish farm equipment supplier Fusion Marine has forged a new partnership with Stellenbosch University to supply fish farm cage kits, ancillary equipment and support services for a series of aquaculture pilot projects in South Africa.

The University’s Division of Aquaculture has been contracted by the South African Government’s Departments of Science and Technology (DST), Water Affairs and Forestry, and Agriculture to implement and manage a range of aquaculture projects that will aid in the sustainable development of the country’s fish farming sector.

The programme aims to establish 50-tonne trout and tilapia pilot projects on seven state owned dams. If successful, the pilot projects will be upscaled to 250-500 tonne production units after three years.

In addition to the freshwater projects, a marine finfish pilot project is also currently being undertaken in the Eastern Cape Province. This project is a joint collaboration between DST, the Division of Aquaculture and the Irvin & Johnson Group and focuses on the grow-out of kob and yellowtail.

Recognising Fusion Marine’s international reputation for aquaculture supply and development, Stellenbosch University approached the company to support these important projects. Agreement was quickly reached, and to date, Fusion Marine has supplied around 20 Aquaflex and Oceanflex fish farm cages, along with onsite engineering support. More cages will be delivered as the projects progress. The cages are supplied in kit form, with the flotation pipes and cage nets all sourced locally.

Stephen Divers, managing director, said: "We are delighted to be supporting this worthwhile programme that will aid the development of the South African aquaculture industry. We are confident that our proven cage systems and expertise in aquaculture projects around the world will ensure the success of the development programme."

Prof. Danie Brink, head of the Division of Aquaculture, Stellenbosch University, said: "The South African Department of Science and Technology currently operates a number of focused portfolios that support interventions with social impact objectives. Key amongst these is the Technology for Social Impact Sub-programme that through its Sustainable Livelihoods (Aquaculture) initiative supports the transfer of technology to exploit local resources with the aim of contributing to poverty reduction and job creation in South Africa.

"It is thanks to this initiative that we have been able to engage an established and reputable supplier such as Fusion Marine."

To date the Fusion Marine cages have withstood fairly severe culture conditions on some sites, including waves in excess of three metres and winds in excess of 70 km/h.