18 January 2017

The Importance of Sustainability, and Giving Back to Nature 

We get so much from nature, and at Sea Harvest, we believe in taking care of the environment that looks so well after us. This mirrors our Chief Executive Officer Felix Ratheb’s views too, which is why we value our membership of the South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA). As a company, we continually interact with government, non-governmental organisations and other vested parties for the benefit of the South African deep-sea trawling industry.

We are also proud of our participation in several regional conservation initiatives, including the Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA), in co-operation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), BirdLife South Africa, and many other South African commercial fishing companies. These are only a few examples of our commitment to sustainable business practices, and to ensuring that we don’t endanger the hand that feeds us all.

Proudly Associated with the Marine Stewardship Council

Another indication of the importance of sustainability to Sea Harvest is our pride in having our South African Cape hake products carrying the blue MSC logo. This serves to assure our consumers of environmentally responsible fishery management, and sound practices and products that seek not to contribute to the global problem of overfishing. Based on continuous research that occurs annually, South Africa’s deep-sea trawl industry was recertified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery, by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in 2015, for another 5 years.

This is a testament to the incredible work the industry is doing to improve its management of the fishery. It is also the third consecutive time that the South African industry was re-certified by the MSC, with the first hake fishery in the world being certified by the MSC in 2005. We continue to build on this long legacy of excellent work, and continue to work hard to take our industry into the future.

SADSTIA’s Reach and Impact on the Fishing Industry

At present, SADSTIA employs 7 050 South Africans full time. The SADSTIA members are collectively 62.36% black owned. What’s more, SADSTIA’s investments in vessels and processing assets total more than R5.9 billion, with 250 fisheries. With the newest vessels in its deep-sea trawling fleet purchased in 2015, at a cost of R375 million, SADSTIA has extended its capacity to operate competitively in the industry.

The deep-sea trawling industry is exceptionally capital-intensive, and requires large vessels and well-equipped processing plants, as well as significant skill to produce high-quality products for both international and local markets. With investments by SADSTIA members for updating their fleet, they continue to set the standard for excellence in the deep-sea trawling industry.

Their fleet consists of 52 large trawlers that typically operate at about 100 nautical miles from the coast, riding ocean swells of up to six metres and casting their nets in waters of up to 800 metres. The fleet includes:

  • 27 “wet fish trawlers” that preserve fresh hake on ice, and transport them to shore for further processing.
  • 18 vessels that supply headed and gutted hake to local and international markets in frozen form.
  • 7 freezer factory vessels that produce sea-frozen hake fillets for the international market.

Providing Delicious Fish Since 1964

We established our deep-sea trawling operations in Saldanha Bay in 1964. Today, we are one of the largest vertically integrated producers of Cape hake in South Africa, creating direct employment for more than 3 000 people. We also work hard to add value to natural marine resources, while at the same time harvesting responsibly and supporting local communities by contributing to the South African economy.

There is no doubt as to our commitment to sustainable employment, and we do this by ensuring the maximum beneficiation of the precious natural resource takes place in South Africa. This also contributes to generating the maximum return domestically. Our fleet of single and twin fresh fish trawlers, in-shore trawlers and factory freezer trawlers supports our business operations. Our fresh fish processing plants in Mossel Bay and Saldanha are built on deep-water quays, enabling the trawlers to tie up alongside and speedily offload into the factory.

We remain committed to providing our customers with the freshest and most delicious fish in the most responsible way possible. Our products are available in more than 2 000 stores nationwide, and also sold in over 23 different countries. If you would like to learn more about our operations, and our SADSTIA membership, contact us today. There are many other exciting ways in which we are working hard to improve the sustainability of our fishing practices and trawling industry.

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