Is S.Africa’s aquaculture sector on the rise?


This may be the case with Abagold Limited, a company based in Hermanus that farms in abalone, that recently accessed the DTI’s Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP), creating 120 new jobs as a result.

The objective of the ADEP is to stimulate investment in the aquaculture sector with the intention to increase production, sustain and create jobs, encourage geographical spread and broaden participation.

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Managing director of Abagold, Christo du Plessis, said the company applied for financial assistance through the ADEP in order to expand and create jobs for the communities around Hermanus.

“We have already created 97 new permanent jobs in addition to the 265 that we had. There are also 29 new fixed term jobs due to the construction phase which is likely to continue for more than a year. We are happy to be growing as a company. Our growth is not only for us, but for the community and the town at large.”

Kwanele Tom, who was recently employed by Abagold said that with his new job, he can support himself and his family of five.

“Since I joined the company I have learned how to work with abalone and would like to attend the aquaculture training course and other skills training courses. I want to grow with the company,” added Tom.

The DTI’s ADEP partly funded the Sulamanzi project, Abagold’s biggest farm, while investors acquired in 2010 through the Black Economic Empowerment structure provided most of the capital for the project.  

“The investment in the project is budgeted to a total some of 112 million rand and we have already received 5.6 million rand as a first claim from the DTI. Our maximum production per annum used to be 275 tons of abalone, and with the new project, it will grow to more than 500 tons per annum,” added du Plessis.

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Currently, the company exports almost 100 per cent of its abalone to markets such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.

Due to strict permit conditions in South Africa as well as the limited domestic market for abalone, the company does not have a large local market as yet.