Fishing and tourism have become increasingly popular in South African waters as demand for exotic fish and shellfish continues to increase.
The country’s fishing industry is set to boom as demand from Chinese investors and other foreign buyers drives up demand for seafood.
“We are witnessing the biggest boom in fish in South Asia in terms of demand,” said Fish Tales CEO and founder of South Africa’s first Tilapian club, Jochen van der Sluis.
South Africa is home to more than 60,000 tilapia, the world’s largest marine species, which are hunted for their skin, muscle and meat.
Van der Slois said the country was facing a critical time.
“The world is now facing a serious shortage of fresh fish,” he said.
Demand for seafood has soared over the past decade.
The industry in South Korea has exploded in the past five years with a 40% increase in the number of restaurants serving tilapias and another 10% increase at seafood marketplaces, according to the International Tuna Federation.
There is a huge demand for Tilapias in South America, where a new boom in demand has taken place in the last few years.
The number of tilapian restaurants has quadrupled in Chile and Peru, said David Estrada, the director of Tilapiacorp, the company that owns the brands of the Tilapie and Tilapiano.
It’s now being offered in every market in the world, he said, adding that he is working with South Africa to create an ecosystem that will bring the same type of fish to market.
Vincent de Bruges is a reporter for South African news outlet Al Jazeera.