Fish is a healthy source of protein, but is becoming increasingly unaffordable for South Africans. Ramon Kourie and Vuyani Somyo of Thapi AquaKulcha look at why marine tilapia may be the perfect alternative to other white fish.
David Fincham has more than 30 years’ experience in aquaculture and is one of South Africa’s foremost tilapia specialists. Through his business in Muldersdrift near Johannesburg, he has supplied 450 fish farming production units to farmers in Africa.
Prospective fish producers should consider all the hurdles that stand in the way of making a profit.
To produce quality ornamental fish, a breeder must establish a habitat that is as natural as possible, with food sources such micro-algae and insect larvae.
A severe drop in water temperature can kill tilapia fish stock in an aquaculture system, and a proper heating system is the only solution.
Today, there are about a dozen abalone farms along the coastline between Port Nolloth and East London. One of the first to be established was Jacobsbaai Sea Products in the West Coast hamlet of Jacobsbaai. In the 24 years since it started farming abalone, the farm has produced an ever-greater number of these delicacies, and now exports millions annually.
Land ownership of the supply chain has enabled a number of countries to produce thousands of tons of tilapia annually. There is little reason why this cannot take place in South Africa.
Approximately 15 cichlid species occur in South Africa. To the untrained eye, several appear confusingly alike, especially as juveniles. So make sure you get the right tilapia species for your aquaculture enterprise!
A recirculating system and a pond farm are at opposite ends of the aquaculture spectrum. The sweet spot is somewhere in between.
Many aquaponics operations focus only on plant yield and ignore fish production. These are merely hydroponic systems that use expensive means to fertilise their plants.
Compared with most other agricultural industries in South Africa, the farmed fish industry is in its infancy. With no legal framework yet in place, fish farmers and animal welfare organisations are at loggerheads about how to kill fish with the least suffering.
Choose the best pump you can afford for your system. A cheap purchase will end up costing you money.