Global, Regional and National Perspectives
- New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Nigel Bankes, Irene Dahl and David L. VanderZwaag
Chapter 16: Marine aquaculture in South Africa: the policy and legal framework
South Africa is situated on one of the oldest navigation routes of the world and at the interface of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans with ready access to the Southern Ocean. The South African coastline is approximately 3650 km long, stretching from the Gariep (formerly Orange) River, where it borders with Namibia in the northwest, around the Cape and up to the Mozambique border in the east. The cold northward flowing upwelling system off the west and Atlantic Ocean side of the sub-continent results in a very different marine ecosystem to that of the east coast; there the warmer southerly flowing Indian Ocean waters from the equator result in high energy mixing off the southern coast of the country. These broad-ranging geophysical factors, have a bearing on the fisheries sector generally and marine aquaculture potential in particular. The main and varied sectors of the South African fishing economy comprise the demersal fishery, the pelagic sector, rock lobster, squid, abalone and seaweed. Not all of these species lend themselves readily to aquaculture. The fishing sector overall makes a significant contribution to the economy accounting for roughly 0.1 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). In 2013–14 the overall harvest of living marine resources was estimated to be in excess of 600 000 tons and with an approximate valuation of ZAR 6 billion (approximately USD 45.6 million). Total output in the marine aquaculture sector was approximately 7700 tons during 2013–14 with an estimated value of ZAR 0.7 billion (approximately USD 53.2 million). Importantly the fisheries sector as a whole provides direct employment in the industry of approximately 27 000 jobs (16 000 in the primary sector and 11 000 in the secondary and tertiary sectors), while an additional 81 000 people are indirectly employed in industries that are at least partially dependent on the fishing sector. The aquaculture subsector specifically provides more than 3000 direct jobs and a further 3000 indirect jobs. Growth in this subsector has been increasing by an average of 11 per cent annually since 2010.
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