Com­mer­cial fish farm pro­posed in eSikhaleni

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Tam­lyn Jolly

LAKE Qhubu in eSikhaleni could be­come the site of a com­mer­cial fish farm, should the rel­e­vant per­mis­sions be given by gov­ern­ment de­part­ments.

The project will be a pri­mary and sec­ondary agri­cul­ture pro­ducer fo­cus­ing on the pro­duc­tion of fresh­wa­ter fish such as Ti­lapia, and value adding pro­cess­ing for hu­man con­sump­tion.

On be­half of the Mad­lankala Pri­mary Co-op­er­a­tive, Phando En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­sult­ing has been ap­pointed as the project’s En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sess­ment Prac­ti­tioner and are un­der­tak­ing the Ba­sic As­sess­ment (BA), Wa­ter Use Li­cence ap­pli­ca­tion and host­ing the pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion process.

The Re­cir­cu­lat­ing Aqua­cul­ture Sys­tem (RAS), an in­ter­na­tional stan­dard sys­tem for in­ten­sively farm­ing aquatic species, will be im­ple­mented.

Ac­cord­ing to Phando En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­sult­ing, RAS is the fore­most in­ter­na­tional method of farm­ing fish in a closed, en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly and sus­tain­able way, ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing op­ti­mal out­put on a small area foot­print in a highly ef­fi­cient way.

‘Although rel­a­tively costly to set up and op­er­ate, there is no other sys­tem ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing fish as ef­fi­ciently as RAS.

‘It sat­is­fies all the eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and health con­sid­er­a­tions of pro­duc­ing food in the mod­ern world.’

A 40 pro­duc­tion pond sys­tem is pro­posed, which will be housed in three 30m x 10m agri­cul­tural-type steel and plas­tic tun­nels, com­plete with ex­ten­sive fil­tra­tion and retic­u­la­tion sys­tems.

In­clud­ing the reser­voir, the to­tal wa­ter in cir­cu­la­tion when in full op­er­a­tion will be 611kl.

Tak­ing into ac­count wa­ter loss through evap­o­ra­tion, me­chan­i­cal fail­ure and fil­tra­tion-re­lated pro­cesses, the wa­ter to be added to the sys­tem per month is es­ti­mated at 60kl in sum­mer and 15kl in win­ter.

The sys­tem is re­port­edly ca­pa­ble of hold­ing 40 000 fish of all sizes and would ex­pect to pro­duce an av­er­age monthly har­vest of 3.5 tons.

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