Global fish consumption has increased five-fold in the last five decades resulting in aquaculture now being the fastest growing sustainable food production sector in the world. The demand for fish globally cannot be met by natural fisheries alone, therefore the expansion of aquaculture is inevitable. The aquaculture sector has set itself apart in the global food production, due to its continued innovation and lead role it plays as major component of the future green economy.
In Lesotho, fish farming plays a very important role in the development of the fisheries industries. The potential for aquaculture development has increased as a result of the current and planned water development projects such as the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase I and II respectively.
Due to differences in altitude, Lesotho has two distinct fish farming zones namely:
The cold climatic conditions in Lesotho are suitable for production of high quality trout. Trout, like its salmon cousins, requires clean and cold, well-oxygenated, fast-moving water at a high altitude, which is exactly what Lesotho’s dam reservoirs offer.
Lesotho has an abundance of fresh disease-free water and fish farming has emerged as a lucrative business activity with two farms supplying the Republic of South Africa and Japan with trout/salmon. The capacity services a very small fraction of the market leaving very big room for investment in expansion and diversification of fish species for these markets which allow for duty free-quota free entry of fish from Lesotho.
The current fish product stands at 300 tons of trout per annum with potential to grow the capacity to 1,200 tons per annum.
Lesotho thus has potential to become the regional leader in aquaculture in Lesotho.