In an effort to unlock the aquaculture sector in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipal region, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has decided to develop a 440 hectare land-based aquaculture development zone (ADZ) to accommodate both freshwater and marine aquaculture.
“The overall purpose of the development is to create an investment-ready platform for planned commercial aquaculture operations to establish within the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ), thereby facilitating entrance into and boosting growth of the sector in the region,” the CDC said on Wednesday.
In August 2020, the CDC started construction on enabling infrastructure in Zone 10 of the leading SEZ to unlock approximately 100 ha (Phase 1) of the ADZ.
“The construction includes the development of road, electrical and stormwater infrastructure unlocking sites for both marine and freshwater aquaculture. This means that aquaculture investors can focus on developing their core business rather than raising capital for bulk infrastructure,” the CDC said.
The 440 ha ADZ is a greenfield development located inside the Coega SEZ adjacent to the deepwater Port of Ngqura.
“Being situated adjacent to the Indian Ocean with approximately 12 kilometres of coastline forming part of the boundary of the 9003 ha SEZ, it was inevitable that the CDC would pursue aquaculture as one of its targeted sectors for development,” the CDC said.
Following years of planning and assessment, the CDC identified Zone 10 of the Coega SEZ to develop a land-based ADZ.
“In 2014, an independent concept design and feasibility study designated Zone 10 as a favourable location for aquaculture development, with marine aquaculture being earmarked for the low-lying areas (i.e. closer to the ocean) and freshwater aquaculture for the higher-lying inland area in the zone,” the CDC said.
In addition, the CDC conducted market research, interacted extensively with the aquaculture specialists and operators, visited various aquaculture operations, and engaged with a number of potential investors.
As a result, in addition to marine aquaculture and following another feasibility assessment, the CDC decided to include intensive freshwater and brackish water aquaculture based on the feedback received and technological development to reduce water exchange and consumptive water use.
The CDC said aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing food sectors globally and is considered a key sector for future food production.