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Fish Processing Facility: Karoo Catch


Karoo Catch (Pty) Ltd appointed a team of specialists, led by MBB (South) , for the design and construction of a 5 000-tonne-per-month freshwater fish processing facility in Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, South Africa, with a project value of R 26 million. MBB (Grahamstown) and Feroqs, both members of the MBB group of companies, also provided significant contributions as part of the project team. The project, funded by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), commenced in July 2017 and was successfully completed in November 2019.

The project was implemented in response to the continuous diminishing supply of fresh fish from both the ocean and inland water resources in South Africa. The aim of the project was to provide a processing plant that would work, package and distribute a final food product that adheres to industry regulations and quality standards.  Furthermore, the project business model takes the local community into consideration and provides not only job opportunities, but also much needed advanced training opportunities.

Catfish were selected due to their high food-to-protein conversion factor in comparison to other fish species bred in captivity.  Catfish cultivation is not limited to specific areas within South Africa and can be introduced in most areas where there is access to fish food, electricity and water.

The project consists of seven large tunnels, each with 10 000-15 000 catfish being raised in freshwater ponds. Once the fish reach 1.6 kg, they are processed on-site into various products, such as fish fillets, sausages, mince and burgers.  The facility is a single-story structure with 800 m2 under roof.  The building is equipped with processing and packaging facilities as well as separate rooms for cooling, freezing, retort, kitchens, boilers and ablution facilities. All working areas have forklift-friendly floor surfacing.  Paved access roads, parking and dispatch areas also formed part of the development.

MBB has learnt a great deal during this project.  Catfish processing is not a well-documented enterprise, resulting in many challenges during the design and implementation of the project.  These challenges were overcome and MBB is proud of its contribution to this project.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)