The five companies that make up Viking Fishing Aquaculture collectively provide 170 jobs and this number is expected to grow substantially over the next three years as the company completes the development of the Buffeljags Abalone Farm, expands into sea cage farming and increases production at its oyster and mussel farms.
The jobs created by Viking Fishing Aquaculture are permanent and offer certain benefits such retirement, death, disability and funeral benefits.
And, because Viking Fishing Aquaculture operates in small towns and rural areas, where good, permanent jobs are extremely scarce, the company makes a powerful socio-economic impact.
For example, in the west coast town of Saldanha Bay (home of West Coast Oyster Growers) approximately 10 500 (23.4%) out of a working population of 45 000 people, are unemployed1. And, of the unemployed, an alarming 36.3% are young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years − exactly the age of workers who are suited to a physically demanding career in aquaculture.
The growth trajectory of Viking Fishing Aquaculture, and a concomitant increase in the number of jobs offered by the company, is in keeping with the South African aquaculture sector as a whole. Although aquaculture production remains relatively small (7 489t in 2011), the sector is extremely labour intensive and − in contrast to shrinking fishery employment − direct jobs in aquaculture grew from 1 742 in 2008 to 2 776 in 2011.
Of the 170 jobs currently provided by Viking Fishing Aquaculture, 48 (36%) are filled by women. Almost all the jobs (90%) are filled by black South Africans.