Bill will destroy industry, say South African farmers
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.