Mindfully reared in the subtropical region of northern KwaZulu-Natal, where nutrient-rich water flows directly from the Mlalazi estuary and Mtunzini shoreline, ZINI fish are of a unique natural provenance, yielding the finest SASSI-approved products.
Our fish are not genetically modified, are not fed growth hormones and are never treated with antibiotics. Traceability protocols enable consumers to know that fish served on any table comes from ZINI Fish Farms.
We supply sustainable and wholesome ZINIKOBTM to discerning fish lovers. We are in the early stages of breeding Spotted Grunter. Both fish species are acknowledged as excellent eating fish.
Dusky Kob (Argyrosomus japonicus) is also known in South Africa as salmon, cob or kabeljou and are found in estuaries and on rocky reefs and sandy bottoms from southern Mozambique to False Bay. They are also found off the coasts of Australia (known as Mulloway), Japan (known as Japanese Meagre), Pakistan and India. Dusky Kob are highly sought after by both recreational and commercial fishers as the flesh of these fish makes for excellent eating. The very well developed lateral line on Dusky Kob is a sensory system for feeding in muddy, murky estuaries as replicated in the ponds on the farm. Populations of Dusky Kob have declined dramatically due to overfishing.
Farmed Dusky Kob is SASSI: Green (Best Choice)
Spotted Grunter (Pommadasys commersonni) inhabit estuaries and coastal waters. We believe that they can co-exist with kob as they thrive at lower levels in the ponds. Grunter force jets of water through the mouth, using the pumping action of its gill chambers to blow prey such as worms, crabs, mud prawns and cracker shrimp from their burrows in the muddy pond bed. Small bivalves are also often eaten. This is an exceptionally great tasting table fish, and is also much sought after by both anglers and spearfishermen. Spotted Grunter depend on estuaries for the growth and protection of juveniles, as well as for adult feeding areas. This makes them particularly sensitive to estuarine degradation.
Farmed Spotted Grunter, when commercialised, is likely to be SASSI: Green (Best Choice)
Images are copyright NRF SAIAB
Started as a prawn farm in the late 1980s and converted to a fish farm in 2013, ZINI Fish Farms (formerly Mtunzini Fish Farms) now has the capacity to spawn its own eggs, rear the larvae and grow the fish to a good eating size.
The farm lies between the village of Mtunzini and the Mlalazi estuary. It is 45.75 ha in extent with 52 earthen ponds, each approximately 0.5 ha and about 26 ha in total. It pumps water from the Mlalazi estuary as well as from well-points on the beach south of the Mlalazi estuary. Water is then gravity fed to the grow-out ponds or hatchery tanks. It only ever flows through one pond or tank, before passing through extensive settlement canals and natural Mangrove filtration on its way back to the estuary.
Broodstock are wild-caught or selected from the best and healthiest fish that have been bred in South Africa over the last decade. They only reach sexual maturity at about 6 years and 10 kg in weight. Breeding and selection programmes ensure genetic diversity whilst domesticating the stock for commercial aquaculture. Spawning of kob and grunter in captivity is still a relatively new science, so we do still buy eggs from other breeders.
Rearing of the young larvae is a challenge that not only requires well-oxygenated and clean sea water at a constant 24°C temperature, but they require special feed that we also have to cultivate. They start off on microscopic aquatic animals called Rotifers and then move on to Artemia, which are tiny aquatic crustaceans also known as brine shrimp. Rotifers and Artemia in turn have to be sustained on a special type of algae.
The earthen ponds offer a very similar environment and ecosystem to the adjacent estuary, and are thus well suited to growing the fish to an average harvest size of 1.5 kg. The fish are fed on a specially formulated diet, well supplemented by other delicacies that thrive in the ponds or come in from the estuary.
The ZINIKOB™ brand reflects not only the fine quality of our fish, but acknowledges the unique natural provenance in which they are reared, and also our sustainable aquaculture practices. In addition to taking a serious scientific approach, we have a desire to create employment opportunities, maintain high standards of care for our fish and the environment, and a willingness to share the occasional fish with the rare and beautiful Palm Nut Vultures and Fish Eagles from the adjacent Mlalazi Nature Reserve.
We supply fresh fish every week to selected fish wholesalers and distributors in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. They sell directly to end-consumers and supply reputable restaurants – regularly and reliably.
Director responsible for production and administration. Has a BSc and Adv BPM (UCT) and extensive experience in ornamental fish and Dusky Kob aquaculture. Involved in various aquaculture industry bodies in South Africa.
Director responsible for facilities and the hatchery. Has a BCom and BScAgric(Aquaculture) and is currently writing up an MSc thesis. He started his aquaculture career at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas before moving to ZINI Fish Farms in 2013.
Non-executive director. He is the CEO of Three Streams Holdings and has a BScAgric and MSc(Aquaculture).
Non-executive director. He is the founder and chairman of MDA Property Systems and has a BSc and BCom.
The owners and managers are mindful that fish farming is a relatively new science, and the scale exposes it to normal risks of agriculture. As such, we are building a robust infrastructure, seeking innovative solutions and collaborating with other role players and academic institutions. We acknowledge good support from various government departments and other industry associations.