Aquaculture is world's fastest-growing food production sector and is believed to be an important global food production system that is capable or has a potential of fighting poverty and malnutrition. Despite the phenomenal growth in global aquaculture, South Africa's contribution has remained disconcertingly low, which calls for more research and development in improving and promoting aquaculture in the country. The Aquaculture Strategy sets out to:

  • Develop transferable technology enabling producers to be profitable,

  • Disseminate relevant educational materials to achieve profitable margins of operation,

  • Provide demonstrations and regular aquaculture advisory services,

  • Engaging in research partnerships between industry, universities, and public agencies, and

  • Fostering open dialogue and networking among aquaculture community


The Agricultural Research Council aim to  enhance aquaculture through research, development and technology transfer by building a sustainable aquaculture community in partnership with all stakeholder including producers, processors, communities, universities, and public agencies.

ARC-API's Strategic Objectives

1. Improvement of nutrition and feeding for sustainable aquaculture
  • Development of aqua feeds and feeding management practices to improve the growth, development, and nutrition of cultivated aquatic organisms.

  • Investigation into feed ingredients as alternatives to fish-based ingredients to reduce the dependence on marine protein in aquaculture diet.

2.  Selective breeding and genetics

ARC initiated a bilateral collaboration between China and South Africa on genetic improvement of tilapia for sustainable aquaculture development. The initiative includes development of a selective breeding research facility. Aims of the initiative include:

  • Supply quality seed to farmers; and
  • Supply seed for restocking natural systems conservation and livelihoods (fishing).

Picture2.jpgSA-China Bilateral Collaboration workshop at ARC

Picture3.jpgExchange visit in China

4. Aquaculture Farming Systems and Environments, Aquaponics

  • Development of home-based (backyard) aquaponics systems for food security in collaboration with North West Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development

  • Development of tank culture of fresh water crayfish Cherax cainii (Marron)

  • Testing high-value species in aquaponics, including essential oil and medicinal plants

 5.  Aquaculture Health and Veterinary Services

  • Develop and disseminate guidelines for fish health management.

  • Develop a fish disease risk profile.

  • Develop aquaculture risk management plan as part of   environmentally friendly fish farming systems for the improvement of sustainable rural livelihood

6. Harvest Tools, Technologies and Economics as well as Marketing

  • Increase the supply of nutritious, locally available farmed aquaculture products that are affordable and meet the highest food standards of safety, wholesomeness, and nutritional value.

  • Improve understanding of the factors and attributes that drive consumer preferences and choices for aquaculture foods to align new products to consumer preferences from farms to the markets.

  • Develop innovative methods, technologies, and approaches to improve product processing, shelf-life, and packaging that promote human safety and product quality.

  • Use taste panels to improve Consumer behaviour.

  • Develop analytical methods for affordable rapid detection of microbial and biological toxins, chemical residues, and human pathogens of highest concern for farm-raised products.

  • DST funded project of developing economic and business modelling tools, selecting and evaluating of appropriate catalytic aquaculture project for local innovation capacity building interventions.

  • PhD-research project on: Development of tools to assist small-scale tilapia aquaculture farming in Limpopo.

​Exciting achievements made thus far

  • Sending MSc students to China in collaboration with FFRC and DAFF

  • Training exchange in China in collaboration with DAFF

  • Field visit in Wuxi

  • Mari-culture training at Xiaman

  • ARC-DST Project Site Visits

  • Aquaculture innovation for local economic development

Quarterly aquaculture and aquaponics training courses (accredited and non-accredited options)


* Introduction to Aquaculture

* Water quality

* Fish biology

* Freshwater species introduction

* Fish Nutrition

* Production systems and design

* Fish breeding and rearing

* Basic Economics of Aquaculture

* Tools for Aquaculture

* Fish handling, harvesting, transportation and Record keeping

* Marketing

* Fish diseases

​* Introduction to aquaponics

* Understanding aquaponics

* Water quality in aquaponics

* Design of aquaponics units

* Bacteria in aquaponics

* Plants in aquaponics

* Fish in aquaponics

* Management and troubleshooting

* Economics of aquaponics

trainingF2.jpgTraining facility

Aquaponics System Construction

Demonstration of fish dissection

Academic Partnerships

University of KwaZulu-Natal; Rhodes University, Witwatersrand University; University of South Africa, Stellenbosch University and University of Limpopo.

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