Fish-farming in urban areas

In his State of Province address Premier of Gauteng David Makhura spoke of stimulating the western
corridor (West Rand) of the Gauteng province as a hub of agriculture and agro-processing, and a
public-private partnership would see the development of aquaculture projects, such as the prawn
farming facility. Food Processing Africa looks at the growing developments of inner-city aquaculture
and the economic effects of these ‘micro fish farms’.
Aquaculture Insight
Aquaculture Insight is a specialist in intensive recirculation systems, combined with the ability to generate results. Being a controlled system, environmental factors can be manipulated to ensure optimal breeding and growing conditions throughout the year ensuring a constant supply of the fish. The company has had numerous system implementations across the country with one of the most successful being an order to manufacture the first of six 15 ton/month Tilapia facilities to be supplied to Russlan Fisheries in Siberia. Plant erection was successful in Siberia and completed during September and October 2012.
Eastern Cape Tilapia
Eastern Cape Tilapia in Port Alfred was started in 2013 and now consists of seven grow-out tunnels, one fry rearing system and one filtration tunnel. There are 14 large, rectangular grow-out tanks – all
self-cleaning – and each stocked with 4 000 red tilapia. Further expansion will include a fish-processing factory as well as feed manufacturing. The scale of water filtration is the key to success. The operation has one large gravityfed filter that uses simple technology.
Gravity-settlement sedimentation tanks remove sediment without any machinery or electrical devices. Flushing is a simple act of opening a valve every day to remove solid waste to a sump, to be disposed later.
The total volume of the filter is far greater than the recommended 30% grow-out volume of 1,29m litres, and could accommodate a reserve capacity if required. Water is supplied from a quarry-fed stream using gravity, as well as from a strong borehole. The set-up is what experts would describe as a good
recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) as it is uncomplicated, user-friendly and well-built.
The Fish Farm
The Fish farm is one of the first innercity community based fish farm systems to be developed in. According to the company representative, “it is one of the few that provides a patented micro fish farm which delivers an asset-based means of production to the urban poor, offering them the ability to participate in the economy of South Africa, in the massive growth industry of fish farming, right where they live, in an inner city environment. The Fish Farm empowers 100 individuals or families to produce four tons each, profitably, right where they live. The result is the same – 400 tons – but more people and communities are involved.”
Design criteria for The Fish Farm requires it to be modular (same design), repeated, lockable, transportable, affordable and profitable. The simple solution was to fit retired 6m and 12m shipping containers with a series of tanks, pumps and filters thereby turning the containers into micro-intensive fish farms.
According to the company water consumption is minimal, “it is similar to a swimming pool – the water circulates through filters and back into the tanks, and if necessary, expelled high-nutrient water goes onto a vegetable garden or through a vegetable aquaponics system.”
Peixe bela vista
A large pond farm 42km from Maputo in southern Mozambique, Peixie bela vista consist of ponds which are 0,5ha in size each. The ponds are filled with male tilapia to avoid advanced breeding in the ponds. A newly-built hatchery uses tunnel technology, hapa nets and biofiltration of the warm water, to allow
year-round breeding. A major strength of the enterprise is that it is combined with an intensive poultry operation, which provides plenty of chicken manure. This is added to the ponds to allow zooplankton
and phytoplankton – natural fish food – to flourish. No commercial pelletised feed is used, and running costs are therefore low.
Additional reporting from Farmers Weekly Aquaculture Insight Phillip Barnard Tel: +27 82 335 8029;;
The Fish Farm Alan Fleming Tel: +27 83 658 8655;;
Eastern Cape Tilapia Tel: +27 84 291 6782;;
Peixe bela vista Tel:;