Freshwater Aquaculture in South Africa

© Henk Stander
A cage system for trout farming in Stellenbosch's Jonkershoek Valley.

Freshwater fish farming in South Africa is defined by the term ‘aquaculture’ and describes the process of producing fish for food in freshwater systems such as dams, open and indoor ponds, recirculation systems and tanks.

Freshwater aquaculture is skill and capital intensive and challenging due to South Africa’s temperate climate. Yet, freshwater aquaculture has the potential to grow through excellent aquaculture technology and linking up or consolidating South Africa’s many small-scale farmers to produce commercially viable volumes.

Together with consumer education about freshwater fish species and clear government policies, the industry has the potential to grow and provide both quality protein and sustainable jobs. The main food fish species produced in South Africa include trout, tilapia, marron (freshwater crayfish) and to a small extent, catfish.

This series on aquaculture by is translated into all eleven official South African languages to educate and empower the people of South Africa on the potential of freshwater Aquaculture.

Aquaponics in South Africa

Aquaponics is the combination of fish farming and the growing of crops, such as herbs and vegetables....more

Aquaponics: The Solution to Food Problems

The world may face a serious food shortage if immediate action is not taken to prohibit unsustainable agricultural practices....more

Catfish Production in South Africa

Catfish are a fast-growing, warm water fish suitable for production in warm water systems. Catfish production in South Africa is limited but shows huge potential....more

Common Diseases in Freshwater Fish Farming

Diseases and health problems in freshwater fish farming can occur due to factors such as pathogens, poor water quality and stress....more

Disease Monitoring in Freshwater Fish Farming

Although disease outbreaks are not common in freshwater fish farming systems (aquaculture), pathogens that can cause illness and disease are always present in the water environment....more

Freshwater Fish Farming - How To Feed Fish

The profitability of the fish farm depends on good feed management, optimal utilisation of the feed by the fish and minimal wastage....more

Freshwater Fish Farming in South Africa

The most important areas for the production of freshwater fish species in South Africa are the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Kwazulu-Natal....more

Harvesting of Freshwater Fish

The correct harvesting method and the maintenance of a cold chain from the production site to the processing factory are important for fish quality. ‘Cold chain’ means the maintaining of low temperatures from the dam to the factory and on to the shop...more

How to Farm Catfish

Catfish farming in South Africa has enormous potential, but new aquaculture farmers need to have a good marketing plan before they start....more

How to Farm Tilapia

The growth rate of tilapia slows down when water temperatures are below 20°C and it shows little to no growth below 15°C....more

How to Measure Growth Tempo in Fish

The growth rate of the fish in freshwater farming systems (aquaculture) has to be monitored throughout the season. Any change in the expected growth rate could indicate feeding problems, poor water quality or diseases....more

How to Start Rural Fish Farming

To start an aquaculture business in South Africa with the aim to produce freshwater fish, new fish farmers will need plans, skills, a suitable site and the right fish farming system suitable to their environment....more

Limitations of Catfish Farming in South Africa

A Graaff-Reinet based catfish farm started with the development of value-added products and obtaining buyers for those items and believes the lack-of-a-market trap can be avoided....more

Maintenance in Freshwater Fish Farming

Frequent inspection and regular maintenance of equipment reduces operational costs and improves production efficiency....more

Ornamental Fish Farming in South Africa

In South Africa, ornamental fish farming is considered the ‘Cinderella’ or poor cousin of food fish aquaculture and industry experts predict this will not change soon....more

Purchasing of Juvenile Fish

The purchasing of good quality young fish, fingerlings, is an important aspect of successful freshwater fish farming. Buy from properly managed hatcheries, enquire from other farmers, and make sure to buy healthy fish....more

Rural Needs in Aquaculture

During the late colonial period in the 1960s, administrations in many African countries attempted to promote rural aquaculture, mostly of tilapia species....more

Testing Water Quality for Aquaculture

The water quality of a dam and the source water for aquaculture, freshwater fish farming, must be tested before farming of fish can start. Always take test samples of water from different places in the dam and not from the shore alone....more

The Best Sites for Freshwater Fish Farming

Good site selection is very important for successful freshwater aquaculture, fish farming. New aquaculture farmers often start with a piece of land and then look for funding....more

Tilapia Farming in South Africa

Used for thousands of years in subsistence farming, tilapia has grown to one of the top-10 favourite fish products in the USA....more

Tilapia Farming Timeline

There are three main events in the tilapia farming timeline: breeding fingerlings, growing out and harvesting, as well as processing the yield....more

Tilapia Products and Consumers of Tilapia

Tilapia consumption is growing worldwide and is widely served in restaurant chains, the retail sector on cruise ships, in hospitals and schools....more

Water Quality in Freshwater Fish Farming

Water quality is crucial for the farming of freshwater fish, aquaculture, in South Africa as it ensures a healthy water environment for the fish....more

What is Ornamental Fish Production?

Ornamental fish - such as koi, goldfish, and tropical aquarium fish - are beautiful fish kept for display purposes in either glass aquaria or fish ponds....more