Operations

Aqunion’s farming and processing operations are located in the beautiful coastal towns of Gansbaai and Hermanus. Here, in a clean and natural rural environment away from the hustle and bustle of city centres, we grow our abalone as close to nature as possible.

Our animals are reared in specially built tanks nourished by a pump-ashore flow-through system – providing us with 24-hour access to fresh seawater in a highly controlled scientific environment. This environment is closely monitored by our dedicated production team.

In the hatcheries, abalone is reared from fertilised eggs in a highly intensive and fragile environment. 

This rearing and nursing process lasts for approximately six months before the abalone is transferred to a grow-out environment. Here they spend the next two to three years in tanks, growing to a market size of 70-250g. This is a more robust environment under the blue African sky. Due to the open-air environment, the abalone experiences sun and rain just as it would in nature, and feeds off the natural algae that grows within the system, along with the feed that we provide.
When the abalone is ready for sale, it is transported to our processing facility or, in the case of live export, it is packed at the respective packing facilities on our farms.

Farms

Whale Rock Farm

The original Aqunion aquaculture site, where the dream of abalone farming was born in 1994. Home of the Aqunion Head Office.

The farm started operating in 1994 under the leadership of André du Plessis.
It is a vertically integrated operation under one roof comprising breeding stock, hatchery, nursery, grow-out and packing sections.
Produces 80 tonnes of abalone per year.
A fully developed site of 2 hectares.

Romansbaai Farm

This site was established in 1997 and acquired from Sea Plant Products in 2004. The farm has subsequently been developed with

infrastructure capable of producing 250 tonnes per annum. The Gansbaai site spans over 30 hectares of land. Produces 200 tonnes of abalone per year. It is a vertically integrated operation under one roof comprising breeding stock, hatchery, nursery, grow-out and packing sections. Employs in excess of 110 staff. Home of Aqunion’s hydroelectricity pilot project.

Diamond Coast Abalone Farm

Aqunion acquired a majority stake in this pilot project in 2011, in partnership with a workers’ trust and the University of Stellenbosch. Located in the remote town of Hondeklipbaai in the Northern Cape of South Africa, the project is one of the first and very few in South Africa that is piloting abalone ranching as a viable form of

replenishing abalone stock in the ocean.
University research is being done simultaneously on the viability of this form of abalone production. Abalone is produced as seeds of 30mm, which are then seeded onto the ocean floor in a specific habitat where they can protect themselves against predation. The goal is to replicate the production of wild abalone, grown in a wild environment and achieve a much sought-after grown-in-the-wild taste. No interference until the day it is harvested.

Processing

The Aqunion processing facility is situated in the new harbour of Hermanus. This is where live abalone is processed into the frozen, canned and dried products.

Our work force of 50 highly skilled people is led by a team of dedicated professionals who are passionate about producing the best quality South African abalone products. We are also fully-committed to stringent levels of hygiene and food safety and our factory is FSSC22000 certified. This ensures that every single product that leaves Aqunion is of the very highest standard.

Marketing & Logistics

Aqunion has a dedicated marketing team that is located on-site at our processing facility to ensure integrated systems and information flow.

Our sales team can be relied on for their in-depth knowledge of the international abalone market, having sold our products to customers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia for over 16 years.
We pride ourselves on our high levels of customer service, in particular our flexible approach. We are able to accommodate most market and customer demands, and have forged lasting relationships with trusted shipping and logistics partners to ensure reliable delivery of our products.