First harvest for Hamburg aquaculture project

SEPTEMBER 14, 2015

A local aquaculture farm in Hamburg, in the Eastern Cape, recently made its first harvest of 260 dusky kob fish – commonly known as kabeljou.

The Hamburg kob pilot project is driven by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and employs 21 people from the community.

The farm, one of 24 aquaculture projects, forms part of Operation Phakisa: Ocean’s Economy, an initiative of government which aims to implement priority economic and social programmes better, faster and more effectively and was launched by President Jacob Zuma in October 2014.

According to the department, the total average weight of the batch was 277kg, with an average individual weight of 1.1kg per fish. The first batch of fish was introduced into the system in February this year and has reached market size, ready for sales.

The farm, 60km from East London, is a two hectare site with the capacity to produce 20 tons of dusky kob per annum.

The department has identified a number of aquaculture projects that aim to empower coastal communities through the transfer of technology, skills development and job creation.

The harvesting was done in collaboration with Oceanwise (Pty) Ltd, a leader in the farming of dusky kob in South Africa, based in the East London Industrial Development Zone.

“The department decided to take the lead with industry on kob farming in order to share the risks associated with developing this fairly new type of farming in South Africa.

“The harvesting process started with workers collecting the dusky kob into nets, which were then transferred into a container filled with slurry solution made out of ice and water. The produce was freshly packed on ice into polystyrene boxes with around a total of 14 fish per box and transported to the Oceanwise fish processing facility.

“At the facility, the fish were weighed, gilled and gutted then repackaged for retailers. The produce was sold to Cape Town Fish Market’s V&A Waterfront branch, Southern Cross Seafood Deli and Wild Peacock Food Emporium in Stellenbosch,” explained the department.

Liam Ryan, Managing Director of Oceanwise said the enthusiasm from the community was encouraging and that the fish were of great quality as they experienced good growth and food conversion.

He said the fish were growing at an average of 3.4 grams per day and were farmed over 201 days.

This was the first harvest of batch one, where a further 537 fish are still available for harvest.

The department said the farm holds two more batches of fish in its system, totalling to 7122 dusky kob fish which will contribute to the first cycle of production of the system. The second harvesting of the first batch took place on 7 September 2015 where 162 fish with an average weight of 1.2 kg were collected.

Thembinkosi Halana, Team Supervisor of the Hamburg project, said: “It was really good being part of the entire process, the quality of the dusky kob was good as we used floating feed. I look forward to the next harvest.”

Aspiring and new aquaculture project owners are encouraged to register their projects to become part of Operation Phakisa.

Projects may be submitted any time, however, evaluations for inclusion will be conducted on a quarterly basis.

For more information on the evaluation criteria and application requirements, interested parties can refer to the aquaculture lab report and the new projects folder available on the Operation Phakisa website

All applications and enquiries can be forwarded to [email protected].