KZN explores opportunities in aquaculture

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Department (EDTEA) has embarked on a massive programme to unlock the economic potential of its aquaculture industry.

As part of the programme, a high powered delegation led by the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) CEO, Neville Matjie, visited a fish farming project in Egypt on Monday, with an aim of learning more about the country's highly lucrative fish farming sector.

The Birkat Ghalioum Fish Farming Project, which is owned by the Egyptian government, counts as one of the most ambitious projects in aquaculture sector in Egypt. The project is also the largest in Africa and the Middle East.

Zikalala said that the visit was an eye opener. He said they envision the same type of approach in KwaZulu-Natal, as “we seek to grow our aquaculture sector”.

Zikalala noted that aquaculture has been practiced for decades in Egypt, which has made the country the largest fish producer in Africa.

“The province is already poised to take advantage of the blue economy, and fish farming could be seen as a subset that compliments the ocean economy. With the right support, we are doubtless that fish farming has the potential to give a huge shot in the arm to our emerging entrepreneurs, particularly given the rising demand for fish in the face of declining stocks in the ocean and fresh water resources in the world," Zikalala said after visiting the project.

KwaZulu-Natal has suitable environmental conditions for aquaculture and for commercial production of a number of fish species.

Zikalala said his department had in the past already piloted a number of aquaculture support projects on a limited small scale. However, the lack of best practice has seen the industry not growing to the level they would like it to be.

Potential to grow economy 

He said the department has decided to put more effort into the aquaculture industry, which has a potential to grow the economy and create jobs. 

“TIKZN's support is intended to analyse the full value chain and to package investment opportunities for the attraction of investors that can grow the commercial aspect of the industry,” the MEC said.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Ministry of Fisheries has made a commitment to provide technical support to KwaZulu-Natal.

"Our department has all the expertise you need and we are willing to provide it to you. We have been providing support for this industry for over 30 years," said Egyptian Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Dr Mona Mehrez. –