At the launch of the Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme (Adep), Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the incentive initiative would target fish hatcheries, fish farms and the production, processing and preserving of aquaculture fish.
It would function as a reimbursement grant for pre-approved projects once they had been up and running for a year.
The programme would also offer a reimbursable cost-sharing grant of up to R 40-million for equipment, infrastructure, commercial vehicles and workboats, and for activities that would boost competition in the industry.
Head of product development in the department, Tumelo Marivate, said the government would pay the grants as soon as the entities came into production.
Davies said there were enormous untapped opportunities in South Africa’s aquaculture industry. Abalone, mussels, oysters and freshwater fish were being farmed, but the pace of growth in the industry had been slow.
“There’s been a major change globally in the production and consumption of aquatic products. Nearly half of the total fish products produced in the world now comes from aquaculture. It’s driven by the reality that world fish stocks are being grossly depleted,” he stressed.
Moreover, South Africa produced less than 1 % of Africa’s output. The industry in South Africa was in its infancy, and production volumes were very low, even compared to its continental peers. Egypt and Nigeria lead the Africa pack in the sector.
In 2011, South Africa produced 7 686 tons of fish and fish products through aquaculture; by comparison, Egypt produced 900 000 tons and Nigeria produced 200 000 tons. More than a quarter of South Africa’s production was of abalone.