South Africa has suitable environmental conditions for aquaculture development and opportunities for commercial production of various cultured species. The local aquaculture sector has performed below its potential and remains a minor contributor to national fishery products and the country’s GDP. However, more focus is being placed on the major constraints that have been limited to aquaculture growth. Constraints such as access to water and land, access to technology, high transaction costs, lack of supporting policies and legislation, and barriers to marketing are currently being addressed by the administrative authorities, namely the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
In 2009 and 2010, South Africa had undergone some changes with regard to aquaculture management and administration. Previously, the sector was managed by two Government Departments, namely the former Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) and the Department of Agriculture (DoA) responsible for marine and freshwater aquaculture, respectively. The two Departments were restructured, forming one leading agent for the development and management of aquaculture in South Africa, now called the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). The total marine aquaculture production (excluding seaweed) in 2011 was 1 883 tonnes, with an estimated value of 379 million Rands. The abalone subsector was the highest contributor to total production making up 55 percent of the total production, followed by mussels with 35.1 percent, oysters with 14.3 percent and finfish with 0.4 percent. The total freshwater aquaculture production was 2 921 tonnes for 2011. Trout contributed 49 percent of the total production, followed by ornamentals, koi carp, catfish and tilapia which contributed 23, 20, 5 and 3 percent, respectively.