The Eastern Cape has 800km of coastline and numerous inland water bodies that provide good opportunities for aquaculture operations and fisheries.
The fishing industry in the Eastern Cape generates over R400-million (US$53 million) a year and employs 3 500 people in both primary and secondary production. The majority of the fishing infrastructure is concentrated in the Port Elizabeth Harbour where cold-storage and export facilities exist.
Of the R535 million (US$71 million) worth of animal and animal products exported from the Eastern Cape each year, R411 million of this is related directly to fisheries and aquaculture - this equates to 78% of the total animal and animal product exports from the province.
Cuttlefish and squid form the largest part of the fisheries exports (R300 million/US$40 million) followed by sardines (R26 million/US$3,5 million), fish and abalone. Export markets for aquaculture and fisheries from the Eastern Cape include Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
In terms of aquaculture as an industry in the Eastern Cape, the province currently ranks second, behind the Western Cape, in terms of the growth and development. Successful commercial operations have proved that the Eastern Cape is an ideal location for fin-fish aquaculture. In the past five years a number of investments into aquaculture in the province have proved the viability and potential for this type of production. The availability of suitable land-based sites for production, the water temperature and the location of industrial development zones (in East London and Port Elizabeth) all contribute to a favourable growth and production environment.
Both the Coega and East London IDZ's have established themselves as aquaculture industrial and manufacturing hubs with investments totalling over R75 million in this industry. Aquaculture investments in the province over the past four years have included:
- A prawn-farming venture in the Coega IDZ;
- A kob hatchery in the East London IDZ;
- The expansion of a successful abalone farm on the Eastern Cape east coast;
- A marine caged fin-fish project in the Nelson Mandela Bay; and
- An in-land kob farming operation 30km outside East London.
Mariculture opportunities available to investors who are considering the Eastern Cape include:
- Abalone culture - a limited number of sites exist for onshore farming of abalone. Its high export potential to markets in the Far East make this an attractive investment opportunity.
- Abalone ranching - certain marine zones along the coast have been identified as being suitable for abalone ranching. However, these opportunities are dependent on the finalization of the ranching strategy by Marine & Coastal Management (national government).
- Offshore cage culture of fin-fish - ECDC has completed a Strategic Environmental Assessmentfor offshore mariculture zones in Algoa- and St Francis Bay. This assessment has found that significant potential exists for investment into this type of primary production. Irvin and Johnson (I&J), a large South African national fishing and processing company, are currently piloting a commercial operation in cage fin-fish in this area.
General investment and business opportunities - aquaculture and fisheries:
- Experimental fisheries - ECDC has identified an opportunity for the development of a red-eye herring fishery along the Eastern Cape coast.
- Marine tourism - marine tourism is regulated under the Marine Fisheries and the Marine Living Resources Act. In conjunction with the ECDC tourism investment sector, opportunities exist for the development of white shark cage diving and boat-based whale watching along the Eastern Cape coast.
- Game fishing - The Eastern Cape offers investment opportunities in sport and recreational game fishing for species such as marlin and yellow fin tuna.
- Canning of freshwater fish - ECDC is co-funding a study to determine the market potential for canned tilapia produced in the Eastern Cape. The study will be completed by April 2010.
- For information on specific investment opportunities in aquaculture and fisheries, click here
- For information on legal guidelines and best management practice in aquaculture and fisheries, click here
- For contact details and links to industry associations, government departments and sporting bodies affiliated to the aquaculture and fishing industry, click here