WHERE DID IT START? | Salmon and Trout represent the backbone of aquaculture worldwide and South Africa is no exception. Trout started reaching the South African food market in noticeable volumes by the mid-seventies. It was first introduced around 1890, when brown trout ova arrived on a sailing ship from Scotland.

At a Cape Town brewery where Newlands is today, the first fingerlings were hatched.

Enthusiastic anglers continued further distribution of brown, rainbow and brook trout to suitable parts of the country. The sixties marked the start of commercial production. Trout was distributed to extensive parts of the country, establishing populations in the upper reaches of most rivers in the cooler areas of South Africa. Trout also became prevalent in Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi and Kenya.

As with agriculture, where alien animal and plant species dominate, alien fish species account for practically all aquaculture activities globally. Few people realise that trout pioneered aquaculture in South Africa.

TROUT – THE SUSTAINABLE OPTION | With global fish consumption increasing more than five-fold in the last fifty years, aquaculture has become the fastest growing sustainable food producer in the world. Our planet, with its finite resources, has to sustain a population of 9.1 billion people. The world’s food requirements are expected to double over the next 35 years – that is why the development of fish farms has become a no-brainer. Natural fisheries cannot meet the demand and aquaculture, with its green economy, has become a life-line in food production.

Keeping in mind ecosystem resources, trout aquaculture is a good choice for many reasons. Trout provide extensive ecosystem services in several ways:

  • Trout farming is synonymous with eco-services. Talk trout and you talk minimal carbon emission and an infrastructure footprint that is small in relation to production.
  • While sustaining substantial production, trout is not a consumptive water user and has little impact on river health.
  • The ideal trout farm is situated above 1700 m and requires good quality water. The aquaculture activity leaves expansive field space fallow. The trout farmer need not diversify, although this option is open to him. In agri-production language, this is having your bread buttered on both sides!
  • Because trout are cold blooded, they do not require energy to maintain body temperature. Their feed conversion ratio is 1.2 to 1 which compares favourably with other farmed animals.
  • Applied research in feed development has turned the industry upside down. Trout’s reliance on fish meal has decreased from 60% to less than 6 %!
  • Trout is accordingly SASSI Green Listed.