by Samantha Barnes

Aquaculture

A new kind of farming

Aquaculture is a new form of farming
fish.jpg

Aquaculture, in layman’s terms, is the practice of breeding fish for commercial gain. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) defines it as “controlled cultivation of a variety of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants in marine and freshwater mainly for human consumption, industrial use and recreational purposes.”

Now we know. In South Africa, aquaculture consists mainly of freshwater species such as crocodiles, trout, catfish, tilapia and ornamental fish as well as marine species, such as abalone, prawns, oysters and mussels.

Aquaculture is a highly scientific industry. Take tilapia for example. According to Nicholas James an ichthyologist and hatchery owner, tilapia need temperatures of between 26°C to 30°C for maximum growth. Pond-aquaculture of tilapia is not viable in South Africa, as it would be restricted to a few months of the year.

Greenhouse tunnels can elevate water temperature by 6°C to 9°C without additional energy costs. Israel and Egypt use greenhouse tunnels to rear tilapia for maximum growth.

There is nothing preventing South African aquaculture from going the same route.

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