The total production of South Africa's aquaculture industry (excluding sea weed, carp, ornamentals and koi carp) in 2013 was 4 802.11 tons with the marine aquaculture industry accounting for 2 985.70 tons and the freshwater aquaculture industry accounting for 1 816.41 tons. The sector has increased the total production by 875.22 tons, which is an increase of 18.22% from 2012 data. The sector has demonstrated a grow rate of 8.7% from 2005 to 2013.South Africa's total marine aquaculture production increased by 724.47 tons from 2012-2013, which is an increase of 30.04%. The abalone, mussels, oysters and nsh sub-sectors recorded increases in production of 358.37 tons (32.25%), 256.37 tons (29.82%), 35.65 tons (14.75%) and 74.09 tons (152.90%) respectively. Total production of 3 927 tons was recorded in 2012, 4 802 tons in 2013 and almost 5 210 tons in 2014. Total production in 2015 was 5418 tons, which represents an increase of 4% from 2014.

DAFF data states that the South African industry is dominated by marine aquaculture species. This is mainly abalone (Haliotis midae) exported from the Western Cape Province, which accounts for more than 80% of all South African aquaculture produce. Abalone and dusky kob (Argyrosomus japonicas) from the Eastern Cape make 12.75% of aquaculture exports from South Africa.

Kob2 Abalone2 Abalone

Aquaculture at the East London IDZ

The East London Industrial Development Zone has a production capacity of between 7000 and 10 000 tons of fish per annum and existing government authorisation for activities such as hatcheries and grow-out facilities for local marine species and a centralised fish processing establishment. In the 2013/14 the ELIDZ board approved 3 new investors for the zone’s aquaculture sector. All of these investors are looking at farming kob.

Additionally, as part of its investment facilitation value offering, the ELIDZ was able to secure over R33 million for one of these investors from the Department of Trade and Industry SEZ fund to assist in putting up a building structure for the enterprise on condition that the investor would secure its own funding for equipment and stock.

As part of its efforts to grow this sector, the ELIDZ has finalised its Tilapia bio plan. The plan will allow the ELIDZ to venture into the fresh-water environment and attract interested investors in this regard. The ELIDZ has also concluded its plan for an aquaculture business incubator. The plan is aimed at eradicating the likelihood of failure in new enterprises which will in turn increase the availability of relevant skills and bring predictability to investors. The ELIDZ is in close proximity to a world class best practice research facility (Rhodes University).

Success stories

Logo OceanwiseOceanwise, based at the ELIDZ, is the Industry Leader for land-based marine aquaculture in South Africa. Approved by the WWF-SASSI, Oceanwise has been farming sustainable, top quality dusky cob (kabeljou) since 2012, with over 400 tonnes produced to date for the premium local and export markets.

Download the Oceanwise brochure here

Pure Ocean AquaculturePure Ocean East London is a company engaged in the development of 5,000 ton land based marine finfish recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). Dusky Cob (Argyrosomus japonicus) will be farmed here. Both operations will deliver fish at an estimated size of 2,5 kilograms and the product will be marketed in both, the local and international markets in its fresh and frozen form.  

Business opportunities 

  • The establishment of marine fin fish hatcheries
  • The establishment of marine fin fish grow out facilities
  • The establishment of a research facility for the development and propagation of new species for 
  • farming
  • The establishment of a research facility for the development of alternative supplies of fishmeal 
  • for marine fin fish
  • The establishment of a research facility for the development of bio-fuels from the by-products of 
  • the re-circulatory marine fin fish farming processes
  • The establishment of an internationally accredited processing facility for fish and fish products. 
  • Research into the possibility of sea-based aquaculture projects for relevant species

Innovation and research

The ELIDZ is in close proximity to the world class  Rhodes University which houses the Department of Ichthyology & Fisheries Science.


Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP)

Useful documents

Contact details

East London IDZ

Mr. Ntobeko Bacela

Sector Manager: Aquaculture


Tel: +27 43 702 8213

Cell: + 27 82 459 3412

Get In Touch

We’re available Monday to Friday, business hours Eastern time.