The Aquaculture work stream has underlined the high growth potential of South Africa’s aquaculture sector due to increasing demand for fish. While aquaculture contributes to almost half of the global fish supply, it contributes less than 1% of South Africa’s fish supply. The sector offers significant potential for rural development, especially for marginalised coastal communities. This work stream has identified eight initiatives to spur the growth of the sector. One initiative will address the selection and implementation of 24 projects across South Africa by 2019.
These projects are expected to grow the aquaculture sector’s revenue from about half a billion rand today, to almost R1.4billion in 2019. Three further aquaculture initiatives relate to the creation of an enabling regulatory environment, including the establishment of an Inter-Departmental Authorisations Committee. The committee will co-ordinate aquaculture applications and approvals. The intention is to reduce processing time from the current periods of about 890 days to 240 days in future. Other initiatives focus on funding support, increasing the skills pool and awareness and improving access to markets.
The stream has identified some initial targets as well. They recommend implementing nine projects in the Eastern Cape, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces. The work stream also proposes the establishment of the Aquaculture Development Fund, consolidating approximately R500 000 000 of government’s funds from five departments into one pot.
The teams also propose the creation of a South African industry body that will establish seventy to eighty buyer relationships such as local retailers and food service companies. This will create a comprehensive market database covering one hundred % of South African aquaculture production.