5 November 2007
After being neglected for much of the past, South Africa is giving its small-scale fisheries industry a major boost by investing R100-million over the current financial year to establish aquaculture projects in all four of country’s coastal provinces.
Addressing delegates at the National Summit on Subsistence and Small-Scale Fisheries in Port Elizabeth on Thursday, Environment and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the initiative was a new milestone in crafting policy and ensuring proper management of subsistence and small-scale fisheries.
“We acknowledge that this sector of the fisheries has not received the attention it deserves, as we have in the past not had a dispensation for small-scale fishers,” Van Schalkwyk said. “I am proud of the partnership that has been developed between our department, communities and [non-governmental organisations].”
He explained that the R100-million Marine Aquaculture project would consist of various developments in the four coastal provinces for 2008/09, including:
- An abalone farm in Gansbaai, Western Cape.
- A finfish farm for silver cob or yellow tail in Saldanha Bay, Western Cape.
- Abalone ranching in Port Nolloth, Northern Cape.
- A finfish farm in Qolorha, Eastern Cape.
- A finfish farm in Sokhulu, KwaZulu-Natal.
- The development of a state hatchery.
The global demand for fish products, the minister said, had increased in recent years, while supply capture fisheries had been decreasing.
“Following this trends, capture fisheries in our country are in decline, affecting some 28 000 direct jobs that are allocated in areas characterised by high unemployment,” he said.
Van Schalkwyk also pointed out that South Africa imports more fish products than it exports, with studies showing that the country imported 200 000 tons of fish per year, valued at about R700-million, between 2000 and 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.
“Currently the marine aquaculture industry in South Africa contributes 0.005% to the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) and provides 1 200 direct jobs,” he said.
“This is modest compared to countries like Chile, with a GDP contribution of 1.4% and 60 000 direct jobs, a GDP of 1% and 4 200 direct jobs in Norway, and a GDP of 0.06% and 670 000 jobs in Vietnam.”