In February 2017, I spent an entire week in Cape Town, South Africa, which gave me the chance to assess, the Hake supply chain from the landing port, cold store, primary processing facility and shipment of the finished product.
Looking at the fishery, the Hake is a slow growing fish, with a lifespan of about 14 years. The Hake undertake daily vertical migration; usually they aggregate close to the bottom in the daytime and later disperse and move higher in the water at night to feed on fish and plankton. Trawlers target hake at the bottom of the sea in the daytime.
The sustainable management of this fishery allowed them to get the MSC fishery certification in 2004 and it has undergone and passed two re-certification processes so far.
Cape Town is the biggest city of South Africa in terms of population with more than 3’400.000 inhabitants and the main fishing port for unloading hake in South Africa; In addition Cape Town is one of the main tourist destination in South Africa and the main gate for the South African wine industry who is located inlands within Western Cape.
The Hake fleet has very modern trawlers and it is under jurisdiction of the South African Deep Sea Trawling association (SADSTIA). The governance, enforcement and reporting to local authorities ensure the compliance with international maritime regulations.
The hake fishery is one of the oldest fishing industries in Cape Town, and provides direct revenues to over 8000 employees and indirect income to over more than 10000 others. For decades the Hake fishery has implemented and maintained good fishing practices; especially after the 70’ where the Hake was overfished, this demonstrates and ensures that the fishery is been managed in a responsible manner.
In terms of traceability and control of volumes, everything starts onboard with a dedicated master fisherman who record the fishing process in addition the use of technology as VMS and modern software to validate collected data.
Once the hake is landed on port, it is immediately processed according to the different clients or markets. The Hake can also go to a secondary processing to undergo an added value process or direct to the final distributor. The Hake supply chain is straightforward which ensure an integrated control across all the stages and sub-stages of the handling and fish processing. I have to add that it was a great experience and honour to be there.
Awe!! to my Zulu, English and Afrikaans friends right there!!!!