Transformation is a process initiated at the dawn of democracy in 1994 in South Africa to address the inequalities that resulted from the country’s past. As one of the largest black-owned companies in the South African fishing sector, one of the Group’s primary drivers is to continually improve on its transformation targets and, more importantly, to play an active role in empowering marginalised and disadvantaged groups and individuals. This is evidenced by the fact that Sea Harvest has moved from a Level 4 Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) company 10 years ago to a Level 1 company with a c.83% black ownership (up from 21% 15 years ago) and an overall B-BBEE score of 104.44 on the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) generic B-BBEE scorecard.

The Group’s dedication to a holistic 20-year transformation journey culminated in Sea Harvest being named the Most Empowered fishing and food company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in a special report about the empowerment credentials of JSE-listed companies, which was published by a South African media house in partnership with independent rating and research companies in November 2018.


Facilitating the transformation of the fishing industry has been an imperative for Sea Harvest since the advent of democracy in South Africa. In 1998, black-owned and managed Brimstone Investment Corporation (“Brimstone”) invested in Sea Harvest for the first time and eventually led a black consortium in buying out Tiger Brands’ majority shareholding in 2009. Brimstone gradually increased its shareholding to establish the 83% black-owned company that Sea Harvest is today. Other initiatives that have allowed Sea Harvest to boost transformation include the formation of Employee Share Trusts that allow employees to own a share in the company, thereby allowing the circle of benefit to include its staff. Sea Harvest has also made further strides in its transformation ambitions by implementing a Management Development Programme for high-performing employees from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

In 1996, Sea Harvest supported the development of a new black-owned fishing company, Vuna Fishing Company (Pty) Ltd – (referred to as Vuna Fishing). The business was renamed Sea Vuna when Sea Harvest sold a 50% share in one of its subsidiaries at the time to Vuna Fishing. Sea Harvest acquired a share in Sea Vuna, which it later unbundled when it listed on the JSE.

During 2015, Sea Harvest entered into joint ventures with three smaller, black-owned businesses that hold long-term Deep-Sea Hake fishing rights, to assist them in catching and processing their allocated Cape Hake quota.

In 2018, in order to fast-track transformation within the broader fishing industry, Sea Harvest led a black consortium in the purchase of the majority white-owned Viking Fishing Group (Viking), contributing to the establishment and furtherance of sizeable operational black industrialists and new black entrants into the fishing industry. The assets acquired as part of the transaction are situated across various locations in South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique and comprise of fishing rights, vessels, fish processing facilities, aquaculture farms (including the biological assets) and working capital. Together with its BEE partners, the company believes the acquisition will promote inclusive economic growth and participation through access, diversity, empowerment and transformation in the fishing industry and the greater South African economy.


In 2018, Sea Harvest co-founded a R100 million South African Fisheries Development Fund to support small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the small-scale fishing sector. Through the Fund it provides marketing assistance, vessels and assets, management expertise, training and mentoring, and processing of fish to promote enterprise development. The primary objective of the Fund is to transform the fishing industry from the ground up by assisting smaller quota holders and small-scale fishers in catching their quotas, processing their catch, and accessing markets. For more information on the Fund and its activities go to https://fisheriesfund.co.za/en/.

As part of the company’s commitment to support the development of SMMEs outside the fishing industry, Sea Harvest was instrumental in the creation of the West Coast Business Development Centre (WCBDC) more than 20 years ago. The Centre provides business advice, coaching and mentoring, as well as other services, such as business registration, to assist developing entrepreneurs in achieving their dreams and sustained business growth.
As a result of Sea Harvest’s procurement policies, the Group spent c. R1.1 billion on procuring goods and services from majority black-owned businesses in 2019, while R492 million was spent procuring goods and services from 745 SMMEs, mainly in the rural communities in which we operate during the same year. Today, there are many examples of small businesses that have experienced dramatic growth because of the continued work that they do with Sea Harvest.


Investing in local communities through the Sea Harvest Foundation Not-for-Profit Company (NPC) is another way in which Sea Harvest tries to bring about social change. The Group believes that the quality of its stakeholder relationships can be attributed to a willingness to engage openly and honestly, as well as understand and respond to stakeholders’ expectations.

Saldanha Bay was always the focus of Sea Harvest’s community involvement, mainly because it has been our first home and our largest site for over 55 years, with 30% of all households directly impacted by the Group. However, in 2019, the Foundation expanded its focus to address the needs that exist in the many other communities in which Sea Harvest now operates. The Foundation’s focus areas of education, health, sports, community, business and early childhood development were reaffirmed following an impact study conducted in 2016.
Sea Harvest is determined to ensure that, as it grows and pursues its vision of becoming a leading, responsible and diversified global Group, it will continue to look for opportunities to drive social transformation within and outside its business.

Please view our latest Sea Harvest Foundation (NPC) presentation for information about recent activities undertaken in the communities in which Sea Harvest operates.


Empowering and supporting the youth in previously marginalised communities to become economically active and respectable members of society is a key focus of the Sea Harvest Foundation. It has allocated funds towards tertiary education bursaries, school sports equipment, a sponsorship to promote participation in surfing, and funding to encourage the youth’s involvement in music.


The Sea Harvest Foundation focuses on ensuring that Sea Harvest staff and local community members have access to basic health services. For the five years ending 2019, funds have been donated to, inter alia, ensure the provision of social services to local communities in the Saldanha Bay municipal area; provide long-distance transport to medical facilities for Sea Harvest employees who live in rural areas on the Cape west coast, and support the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust and an annual two-week dental clinic operated by Dr Joseph Joshua.


By supporting aspiring business owners, community-based sports clubs, feeding schemes, community-focused government programmes (example, World Food Day and World Fisheries Day), and other initiatives, the Sea Harvest Foundation has been able to drive social change at local community level. Millions of rands have been invested to empower local communities. This amount excludes that spent on black-owned small-, medium- and macro-sized enterprises.