The Farming Process
HIK Abalone Farm’s hatchery is divided into four highly specialised departments, namely, broodstock, larvae, settlement and weaning. The hatchery period from egg to ten millimetre spat takes six months. The hatchery currently produces between 6.5 and 7 million spat annually.
At HIK, abalone are grown to market size over a period of 36 – 45 months. Abalone are carefully tended in oyster net baskets suspended in tanks, and fed an artificial diet (Abfeed) which is especially formulated for the species. Tanks are cleaned weekly, and a large amount of energy is focussed on animal health and husbandry. HIK has expanded onto a second pristine site at Buffeljagsbaai, about 70km from Hermanus. The successful model followed by HIK Hermanus has been implemented at HIK Buffeljags, and the companies two grow-out areas currently supports 13 million animals with a collective biomass of 450 tonnes.
Optimal use of information across all aspects of the abalone farm is a core priority at HIK. Maintenance and analysis of accurate stock data is of utmost importance when developing and implementing weekly, monthly and annual production plans. HIK recognised this need many years ago, and the continual development & optimisation of our two custom-developed software programs (abalone stock management and abalone stock forecasting) is our highest priority apart from farming abalone. These programs allow for the collection and analysis of very large datasets (biological, technical, environmental), as well as the assimilation of output data into various stock growing and harvesting scenarios. This program has made a profound impact on how abalone are farmed at HIK, and gives us a significant edge on local and international competitors. Outputs from these programs are integrated with other information sources to calculate various farm productivity and efficiency indicators.
HIK’s current production output is 300 tonnes per annum and growing. Managing 2 sites has its challenges, however it offers fantastic risk mitigation and the ability to offer customers a consistency of supply not achievable by other abalone producers. Collective genius from the management team ensures HIK remains a leader in terms of animal health and husbandry. We believe that the synergy and team-spirit that permeate our organisation will contribute significantly toward achieving this goal.