The Benguela ecosystem offers a number of marine species with good market and culture potential, yet the aquaculture industry is largely underdeveloped. The stage has, however, been set to increasing aquaculture production in Angola, Namibia and South Africa. For instance, Angola has formulated a comprehensive aquaculture policy based on accepted international guidelines and protocols and incorporated aquaculture legislation into law. In Namibia, where fish and fisheries play a very important role in the economy, aquaculture is addressed as a development priority, both in Namibia's Second National Development Plan (NDP-2) and in the VISION 2030 document.
Namibia's Aquaculture Act was passed in 2003, making it the first of the three BCLME countries to translate aquaculture policy into a comprehensive development strategy. The strategy conservatively estimates that the industry should grow in value from N$20 million (USD2.8-million) to N$250 million (USD35.7-million).
Oyster farming is the most established aquaculture activity in Namibia. Both Pacific oysters (Crassostreagigas) and European oysters (Ostreaedulis) are grown. Red seaweed, Gracillaria is cultured in a 40 ha plot in Lüderitz lagoon to supplement the collection of beach cast product. Abalone farming has attracted interest in Namibia and one farm is currently operational at Lüderitz Bay. There is also considerable interest in rearing rock lobster (Jasuslalandii), marine finfish (dusky Kob, Argyrosomusinodorus; and Turbot, Psetta maxima) and scallops.
Although South Africa lags behind its regional counterparts in terms of developing aquaculture policy and legislation, its aquaculture industry is the most productive of the three countries. It produces abalone, mussels, oysters, turbot, and prawns. Species on the threshold of commercial production include seaweed and kob (Argyrosomus spp.).
There are 48 aquaculture operations in South Africa producing some 4 000 tons per year, much of this accounted for by abalone farming.