The commercial production of aquatic plants and animals is called aquaculture and can be divided into freshwater aquaculture and sea or saltwater aquaculture. Seawater aquaculture is also termed ‘mariculture’.
Freshwater aquaculture is the growing of fish and plants in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) and in both indoor and outdoor ponds or tanks.
Mariculture is the production of finfish or bivalves in sea-based systems, but abalone is mostly farmed by circulating seawater through land-based tanks.
Aquaculture is skill and capital intensive and challenging due to South Africa’s temperate climate. Yet, aquaculture in South Africa 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 freshwater food fish species produced in South Africa include trout, tilapia and to a small extent, catfish.
Species produced in mariculture systems in South Africa include finfish (e.g. spotted grunter, dusky kob, seawater trout, saltwater tilapia), bivalves (oysters and black mussels), seaweed and abalone.