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Afrox’s aquaculture technology underpins growing local industry

Oceanwise fish pools Oceanwise fish pools

Although the size of South Africa’s fish farming industry has historically been negligible compared to the magnitude of this agribusiness in other parts of the world, there are now indications that aquaculture — the farming of fresh-water or salt-water marine species in controlled environments — is poised to grow significantly in this country.

Afrox recently entered into a five-year bulk oxygen supply agreement with Oceanwise, an East London based fish farm, and indications are that this coastal area is fast becoming a focal spot for the country’s budding fish farming industry. Local government incentives are attracting entrepreneurs interested in establishing fish farms in the prime East London Industrial Development Zone.

“We are by far the market leader in supporting aquaculture and we’re fielding an increasing number of queries relating to our products in this arena,” says Afrox’s Gareth Jones. “Our sister company, Linde Gases, is the global leader in aquaculture technology and this gives us full access to the latest technology being supplied to the world’s biggest fish farming operations.”

Growth in the world aquaculture industry is estimated to be between six to eight percent in 2013 alone and this means fish farms will need to gear up their operations to be equal to the challenges of maintaining optimal fish production conditions, such as appropriate nutrition, disease prevention and most importantly, maintaining a healthy water environment.

With demand for world food supply intensifying year on year, forecasters predict that in the not-too-distant future, the average family is likely to find fish on the dinner plate far more frequently than protein from land reared animals. The world population needs large supplies of protein and it costs significantly less to cultivate fish, than to raise land animals such as cows, pigs and poultry for slaughter. 

“This scenario is expected to drive the world food business into the direction of aquaculture with increasing momentum in the years to come,” says Jones. “Contemporary trends support this prediction. In the past 50 years, global demand for fish products has doubled and today nearly half of the world’s seafood comes not from wild catches, but from land-based and offshore fish farms.”

Controlling the concentration of dissolved oxygen levels in water is crucial to the success of aquaculture. As pure oxygen optimizes the dissolution of oxygen in water, the better will be the environment for healthy and reliable fish growth. Maintaining the right levels of oxygen improves feed utilisation, shortens the growth period, reduces fish mortality and mitigates the need for vaccination and antibiotics.

“The use of pure oxygen provides considerable advantages,” he continues. “With 50 years of experience in aquaculture, Linde has accumulated the expertise to identify the right type of equipment for each customer’s unique requirements via the most cost effective solution, characterised by minimum use of oxygen and energy.

“Aquaculture faces many challenges and oxygenation has proved to solve most of the issues associated with breeding fish. It is a great remedy in critical situations such as reduced water availability, decline of oxygen concentration, increase in water temperature and in emergency situations, where water flow is suddenly interrupted, as the oxygenation system works even when the power supply is cut off. 

“Pure oxygen is also indispensable for an eco-friendly aquaculture. In recirculation plants, where 90% of the water is recirculated, oxygen enrichment is vital to provide sufficient oxygen for the fish and the aerobic bacteria which perform biological water purification.”

African Oxygen Limited (Afrox) is sub-Saharan Africa’s leading supplier of gases and welding products and is well geared to provide the continents aquaculture industry with the technology and expertise needed.  With over 500 reference installations world-wide, Linde Gas together with Afrox, are the ideal partners for you to successfully establish a profitable fish farming business.

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