In July 2018, a black economic empowerment (BEE) consortium led by one of the RFA’s founding members, Sea Harvest, acquired 100% of the fishing business of Viking Fishing Holdings Proprietary Limited (Viking). The purchase, which covers all of Viking’s fishing businesses, including its vessels, property, fishing rights, factories and a share ownership of Viking Aquaculture, was approved by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), as well as the Competition Commision and its Tribunal.
Sea Harvest Group CEO, Felix Ratheb, has stated that the acquisition made sense due to the complimentary nature of the Sea Harvest and Viking businesses. “The joining of these two organisations allows us to diversify into other species and create a truly global diversified fishing company which will now include aquaculture.”
According to Sea Harvest Board Chairman, Fred Robertson, the transaction will contribute to long-term sustainability and inclusive economic growth in rural areas through job creation, transformation and local-area development. He says, “An investment of this magnitude by our organisation would never be undertaken without our absolute confidence in the sustainable management of the marine resources in our country by the DAFF.”
As a right-holder in South Africa’s deep-sea and inshore trawl fisheries for hake, Sea Harvest holds Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody certification. Viking Fishing now operates as a division of the Sea Harvest Corporation and, as such, has not retained its own membership of the RFA.