Site selection for the Small-Scale Aquaculture Farming Systems in the Western Cape : a GIS application

Steer, Lorn Adam (2006-03)

Thesis (MA (Geography and Environmental Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


The Rural Aquaculture Development Programme (RADP) of the Division of Aquaculture at Stellenbosch University (DASU) has the objective of socio-economic development of farm workers and rural communities from previously disadvantaged communities through the provision of opportunities for sustainable economic development by establishing small-scale fish-farming systems on irrigation dams. The Small-Scale Aquaculture Farming Systems (SSAFS) is an initiative of RADP. DASU intends implementing 20 new projects by the end of 2005, 100 by 2010 and at least 200 by 2020. Thus far, sites which can accommodate 25 projects have been identified. The owners of the land on which these 25 possible projects are located are being contacted to gain permission to use the sites for the SSAFS. It is possible that some of the owners of the sites will not allow them to be used so that not all 25 projects will necessarily be implemented. At present the predominant search method employed by DASU to find new sites involves two steps. Initially knowledge is acquired through word of mouth about dams that may be suitable. Personnel then drive to these dams for further inspection, to see if they are indeed suitable. This method of search is clearly both expensive and time-consuming. Geographical information systems (GIS) have as yet not been considered as an alternative and/or supplementary site selection method for the SSAFS. GIS tools and principles can reduce both expenses and time in locating sites by reducing the number of dams to be visited to only those that are optimal (i.e. they present the least risk of the SSAFS projects failing). A new site selection methodology using GIS was developed which is faster and less expensive than existing site selection methods. The GIS site selection methodology revolves around the isolation and selection of dams in the Berg and Breede River water management areas, based on their ability to fulfil certain parameters of critical variables comprising dam dimensions, environmental issues, distance measures and site security, according to a priority hierarchy, that determine a successful site for trout farming according to methods employed by the SSAFS. Once this methodology was produced, it was presented to five people who are directly involved with the SSAFS as well as four others who are not involved with the SSAFS but who might find the methodology useful, to determine whether they hold that the methodology is indeed better than existing search methodologies. Those who were presented the GIS site selection methodology felt that it is very useful and that it could be employed in future to make more informed choices when locating new sites for the SSAFS as well as other aquacultural enterprises.

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