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EC fish farm leads the way with high-quality species

Home Agriculture EC fish farm leads the way with high-quality species

KINGFISH Enterprises is leading the way as the largest land-based marine fish farm in the country. Located in the East London Special Economic Zone, the company specialises in producing high-quality Yellowtail, Kob (Kabeljou) and Pacific Oyster juveniles.

Many have tried and failed at marine aquaculture in South Africa, but the success of Kingfish Enterprises can be attributed to the strong expertise and experienced personnel who have developed and manage the systems and technology required, as well as their ability to raise long-term capital, enabling the company to grow and reach full capacity in 2024.

Kingfish Enterprises uses recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) to control the production of its fish from broodstock through egg, all the way to harvest size. The company has the capacity to produce 300 tons of fish a year, ensuring a year-round supply of top-quality fresh fish that is sustainably produced.

The company has raised R50 million in capital through private investors, and the Department of Trade and Industry has supported the business through its Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP).  This investment has helped to build the farm and fund working capital as the business grows to its full potential.

One of the key benefits of marine fish farming is its ability to promote environmental sustainability, and Kingfish Enterprises is at the forefront of this movement. Founder and general manager at Kingfish Enterprises, Andre Bok, says that by using sustainable farming practices, the company is able to produce fish without the use of harmful chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics. Furthermore, organic waste from the fish is effectively removed by using living biological filters.

Kingfish Enterprises has created more than 30 jobs, with a further eight expected this year. The oyster spat is raised at Kingfish and the company has partnered with a local organisation the Siyazama Cooperative in Hamburg. There the community on-grows the oyster juveniles in the Keiskamma Estuary to a market size (approximately 1.5 cm). The farm has the capacity to produce over 20 million Pacific Oyster juveniles per year, which are delivered to oyster farmers. In production now, they are starting to be sold to their first customers.

The Yellowtail Kingfish and Dusky Kob are grown from larvae produced on-site from broodstock fish. Because of its commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, the company’s products are listed as a ‘green choice’ on the  South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) list, making it an excellent, consistent source of high-quality, responsibly-sourced Kob to the market. Wild-caught Kob is red-listed by SASSI.

“Woolworths is currently our primary retail customer and farmed Kob is available at 30 Woolworths stores with fish counters country-wide, but we are looking to extend this to over 100 Woolworths stores soon. Our customer base includes food service distribution players who sell to the hotel and restaurant industry and we also supply some speciality seafood retailers. We are looking for new customers who believe in truly sustainable fish as the right choice,” says Bok.

“Our Yellowtail will be available towards the end of 2023. There is a strong export market for Yellowtail and we will be targeting this market in 2024,” he says.

The company is also in the process of raising further capital investment of R6 million to fund the business to its full capacity.

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