News & Views
Abalone farmer shores up hatchery operations
Abalone farmer Abagold of South Africa is shoring up the hatchery side of its business to help recover lost abalone tonnage caused by red tide early this year.
By Liza Mayer
The red tide in February had prompted further expansion and capital investment in the company’s hatchery so it could more than double its capacity by end-December, chairman Hennie van der Merwe was quoted as saying by Business Day.
Abagold lost 30 percent of the abalone farm tonnage when red tide hit, but the company was reportedly able to supply the Chinese market with its product during the busy Chinese Lunar New Year festivities.
Van der Merwe said the red tide affected the company’s momentum in the second half of the year.
“The pipeline has been materially prejudiced by the event and although a great deal of focus is directed at the efficient farming of the remainder of the pipeline, a large part of our resources and capital investment has been channelled to the hatchery to deliver the increased volume of spat required to restock the operation as soon as possible,” Van der Merwe said.
He said further expansion was planned for the new financial year. “The consistent production of increased volumes of high-quality spat to our farms is the essential basis for the recovery of our pipeline as well as for sustainable future production of abalone at appropriate levels.”
The hatchery remained the platform for the rest of Abagold’s operations to achieve growth targets, competitive feed conversion rates and cost efficiency, Van der Merwe added.