Leslie Ter Morshuizen (52) has always been passionate about fish. In fact, he was breeding goldfish and tilapia as a young boy on their family farm in George in the Southern Cape.
Soon thereafter, his hobby and passion became a profitable agricultural business. Neighbouring farmers and the local pet shops were his best customers.
Today, Ter Morshuizen is the owner of Aquaculture Innovation and a reputable fish farming expert in South Africa. He is our guest in today’s edition of AgriSETA Learner Connect. We are highlighting the vast opportunities aquaculture offers.
Hold up! Aqua-what? Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants. The most popular is fish, shellfish and seaweed that thrive in natural or controlled marine or freshwater environments. And no, you won’t smell like fish!
This is another cool career featured over the next few weeks on Food for Mzansi and 19 radio stations all over the country. Our overall goal is to empower learners with first-hand knowledge on the diverse opportunities available in agriculture. Perhaps you too will be brave enough to choose agriculture as a future study and career option.
Ok, now it’s over to Leslie Ter Morshuizen for today’s AgriSETA Learner Connect.
1Could you sum up your job for us? I’m a fish farming expert and I run my business Aquaculture Innovation. We offer several aquaculture and aquaponics courses and also design fish farms. We regard ourselves as the leading experts in the scaling, design and construction of fish farms in Africa. Our focus is on using the latest international advances in aquaculture technology, combined with a “what works in Africa” attitude, to develop fish farming systems that are cost- effective to erect and operate, produce the targeted production volumes and are as simple as possible to manage.
2So, what does the day-to-day of your job entail? As the owner of Aquaculture Innovation I wear several hats, including advising clients on new systems or optimising existing systems. I also manage the manager on each of my own farms.
What qualification do you need for this career? A higher degree in an animal science is desirable with at least a BSc Honours in aquaculture being ideal. On completing school, I spent a year in commercial fishing prior to spending six years at Rhodes University where I obtained a MSc degree in ichthyology. (Yeah, we know, that’s another funny-sounding word. Ichthyology refers to the scientific study of fishes.)
4What are the character traits you need to be great at your job? A detail orientated and disciplined aptitude is helpful, along with problem-solving abilities and high energy levels. Being good at working with other people is also a huge advantage.
5What subjects do I need to become a fish farmer? The entry qualification for university studies is a national senior certificate. You can also acquire Bachelor of Science degree in aquaculture. Also, the Agricultural Research Council offers various accredited training courses, including water quality, fish biology, freshwater species introduction, fish nutrition, fish breeding and rearing and the basic economics of aquaculture.
6What do you love about agriculture as a space to work in? I enjoy working in agriculture because it feels like real work. Working with my hands, nurturing fish and plants (in aquaponics), breeding, feeding, caring for them is what I love most. I love the sound and sight of water flowing.
7Don’t be modest, tell us about your proudest career moments? I have two, if I may. The first is the delight of handing over a farm that we built for a client. To have seen their excitement and anticipation at what the facility could do for them, and also when I see the success of someone I trained. Those are both highly fulfilling.
8What do you do when you’re not at work? When is that? My vocation is my career is my hobby. I do also spearfish and angle.
9Any advice for young people who are inspired by your career story here on AgriSETA Learner Connect? Start and learn practically whilst doing it, while still at school. Go and study and get a theoretical knowledge to add to your experience, then go and work as a junior on fish farms for a year each – at least to gain strong practical experience before considering your own investment.
10Where can I study to become a fish farmer? For starters, research possible degree qualifications at your nearest and other universities. Various short courses and workshops on different aquaculture topics are also presented from time to time at a number of institutions. You can also try Aquaculture Innovations’ own fish farming training courses, Stellenbosch University or Rhodes University’s department of ichthyology and fisheries science.
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Waterberg Stereo: Bela Bela, Brits, Naboomspruit, Pietersburg, Pretoria, Thabazimbi, Tzaneen – 104.9 FM
Waterberg Stereo: Thabazimbi, Naboomspruit – 104.9 FM
Laeveld Stereo: Nelspruit – 100.5 FM
Lichvaal Stereo: Lichtenburg – 92.6 FM
Overvaal Stereo: Viljoenskroon, Parys – 96.1 FM
Maluti FM: Bethlehem – 97.1 FM
Rosestad FM: Bloemfontein – 100.6 FM
Wild Coast FM: East London – 98.6 FM
Gamka FM: Oudtshoorn – 87.6 FM
Kouga FM: Humansdorp – 97.8 FM
Eden FM: Hessequa, Kannaland, Karoo, Oudtshoorn, Plettenbergbaai, Riversdale, Uniondale – 93.8 FM
Radio Overberg: Bredasdorp – 98.4 FM
Caledon FM: Caledon – 89.3 FM
Whale Coast FM: Hermanus – 96.0 FM
West Coast FM: Vredenburg – 92.3 FM
Lara FM: Springbok – 91.6 FM
NFM: Okiep – 98.1 FM