Bill will de­stroy in­dus­try, say South African farm­ers

Fish Farmer - - News -

MEM­BERS of the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try in South Africa are up in arms over the gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed new Aqua­cul­ture Devel­op­ment Bill (ADB), which is to be tabled in par­lia­ment soon.

They say the bill will de­stroy the in­dus­try through over­reg­u­la­tion and red-tape in­stead of de­vel­op­ing it, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Busi­ness In­sider South Africa.

Con­tro­versy also sur­rounds the in­clu­sion of crocodile farm­ing in the aqua­cul­ture sec­tor.

The draft bill was re­leased for pub­lic com­ment in May, af­ter be­ing stuck in limbo for more than two years.

Ni­cholas James, owner of Riven­dell Ti­lapia Hatch­ery out­side Gra­ham­stown and a fresh­wa­ter fish con­sul­tant, said the bill will de­stroy the fresh­wa­ter aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try be­cause of the ad­di­tional reg­u­la­tions re­quired.

The ADB will also de­ter new en­trants into the mar­ket ‘be­cause they will have to get a li­cence from the gov­ern­ment be­fore they can do any­thing’.

He added that the cost of en­forc­ing the bill was not jus­ti­fied by the size of the sec­tor and had ev­ery­thing to do with con­trol and noth­ing to do with devel­op­ment. The re­sult is that in­stead of cre­at­ing new jobs and new de­vel­op­ments, the ADB will sti­fle it.

‘The gov­ern­ment is go­ing to spend mil­lions to pa­trol and con­trol a very small in­dus­try.’

He cited the ex­am­ple of a R5 mil­lion aqua­cul­ture farm that was re­cently opened near Liv­ing­stone in Zam­bia.

‘That kind of in­vest­ment will never hap­pen here, be­cause the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment is so bu­reau­cratic.’

Both the Aquatic As­so­ci­a­tion of South Africa, Aqua­cul­ture SA and the SA Crocodile In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion (SACIA) have made nu­mer­ous ap­peals to the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries (DAFF) not to go ahead with the bill, but with­out suc­cess.

As it stands, the law re­quires var­i­ous lev­els of li­cens­ing for any ac­tiv­ity where there is hu­man in­ter­ven­tion in rais­ing aquatic or­gan­isms, even if it is only pro­tect­ing them from preda­tors. Breed­ing or­na­men­tal fish is also in­cluded.

Above: Trout farm in South Africa.

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