Govt to pump R100-million into fish farms

The government is to invest R100-million next year in six marine fish-farming projects, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk announced on Thursday.

“There are huge opportunities in marine aquaculture, which will not only reduce the pressure on wild stocks, but provide new economic opportunities,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the National Summit on Subsistence and Small-Scale Fisheries.

The summit, under way in Port Elizabeth, is aimed at garnering the views of fishing communities in respect of fishery policies and the management of marine resources.

Van Schalkwyk said global demand for fish products had increased in recent years, while the supply from “capture fisheries” had dropped.

“In contrast, aquaculture production has increased by an average of 9% globally.”

South Africa imported more fish products than it exported.

“According to studies, on average 200 000 tons of fish, valued at R700-million, were imported per year during the period 2000 to 2004.

“In this context, aquaculture presents a good opportunity to diversify fish production to satisfy local demand, export opportunities and the creation of new jobs.

“I am proud to announce that we have allocated R100-million in the next financial year to make ... marine aquaculture interventions.”

Van Schalkwyk said South Africa’s marine aquaculture industry currently contributed 0,005% to GDP and provided 1 200 direct jobs.

“This is modest compared with countries like Chile, with a GDP contribution of 1,4% and 60 000 direct jobs; Norway, with a GDP [contribution] of 1% and 4 200 direct jobs; and Vietnam, with a GDP [contribution] of 0,06% and 670 000 jobs,” he said.—Sapa


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