Aquaculture: Huge opportunities in South Africa

Aquaculture currently makes minimal contribution to regional fishery production in Africa but there is a huge opportunity to make up the growing shortfall in African fish supply, which estimates to rise to 1.8 mill tons by 2030. 

While the disposable of African consumers is increasing, average income are relatively low. This translates into a preference for smaller fish which have lower production costs.  The African natural environment for aquaculture is unlimited but access to sites is constrained by the limited infrastructure and services.

African fish supply estimates to rise to 1.8 mill tons by 2030.

African fish supply estimates to rise to 1.8 mill tons by 2030. (Foto: Flickr / NOAA)

South Africa stands out as the exception in the region with its well developed infrastructure  and business institutions, supportive policy and regulatory framework. Current commercial scale aquaculture activity in South Africa is limited to abalone, mussels and oysters and marine finfish (dusky cob)

Potential for growth
The aquaculture  sector in South Africa is relatively small and undeveloped,   and remains a minor contributor to the country’s seafood production. Aquaculture development has become a government development priority with various policy and support measures put in place to stimulate  sector development.

Technology currently employed include recirculation systems with thermal regulation, high density tank culture,  which offers room for new and more efficient technology solutions.

Marine finfish juveniles  are reared in intensive recirculation systems, and then moved for further growth  to land based tank systems.

Cage culture is challenging due to the high energy coastline. Offshore cages may in future provide a solution.

Waste water treatment, driven by new regulatory requirements, and the integration of small scale renewable energy are areas for potential future collaboration.

Innovation Norway in South Africa has identified some concrete aquaculture opportunities:

  • Experimental cultivation of the South African scallop including a hatchery at the Sea Point Research Aquarium, and grow-out facilities in Hermanus, Saldanha, and Port Elizabeth, in the provinces of Eastern Cape and Western Cape.
  • Development of commercial sea urchin cultivation
  • Coega Aquaculture Development Zone (CADZ), Port Elizabeth, investment in the cultivation of marine and fresh water aquaculture including abalone, finfish, seaweed and Tilapia, Eastern Cape Province.
  • Amatikulu Aquaculture Development Zone, the establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Technology Demonstration Centre with a hatchery and a facility for the full-scale production of tilapia, kob and prawns, Kwazulu Natal Province.
  • Qolora Aquaculture Development Zone, supporting infrastructure, development of an abalone and finfish hatchery, grow-out facility, and establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Technology Demonstration Centre, Eastern Cape Province.

Potential business partners
Entering this market requires a long term strategy.

It is recommended to cooperate with an established partner in the South African and Regional market  South Africa offers excellent corporate governance and defined policies.

For further information please contact   Innovation Norway in  South Africa

Andre F Kruger, on Mobile: +27 87 1500120 or

(Foto: Flickr / NOAA)

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