EDTEA in KwaZulu-Natal is embarking on a massive programme to unlock the economic potential of its aquaculture industry. Photo: File

DURBAN - The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, is embarking on a massive programme to unlock the economic potential of its aquaculture industry.

A delegation led by the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal Chief Executive, Mr Neville Matjie, visited the Birkat Ghalioum Fish Farming Project in Egypt.

This visit to the project, which counts as one of the most ambitious projects in Egypt's aquaculture sector, is aimed at learning more about that country's highly lucrative fish farming sector.

Zikalala said, "This visit has been an eye-opener. We envision exactly this type of approach in KwaZulu-Natal as we seek to grow our aquaculture sector. Aquaculture has been practiced for decades in Egypt which has made this country the largest fish producer in Africa". 

KwaZulu-Natal has suitable environmental conditions for aquaculture and for commercial production of a number of fish species.

The MEC added that his department had in the past already piloted a number of aquaculture support projects in the province.

"This was on a limited small scale and the lack of best practice has seen the industry not growing to the level we would like it to be. We have therefore decided to put more efforts into this industry which has a potential to grow the economy and create jobs. TIKZN's support is intended to analyse the full value chain and to package investment opportunities for the attraction of investors that can grow the commercial aspect if the industry," said Zikalala. 

The Birkat Ghalioum Fish Farming Project is owned by the Egyptian government and is the largest in Africa and the Middle East.

The Egyptian Ministry of Fisheries has made commitment to provide technical support to KwaZulu-Natal.

"Our department has all the expertise you need and we are willing to provide it to you. We have been providing support for this industry for over 30 years," said Dr Mona Mehrez, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries.

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