May 10, 2019

Three Streams: Sustainable From Egg to Plate


Global consumption of fish has increased five-fold in the last five decades and wild fisheries are unable to meet the demand for high quality, healthy, sustainable fish. Aquaculture has become the way forward.

Three Streams Holdings is owned by the Stubbs Family, who have been involved in the fishing industry in one way or another since the 1950s.

In 1986, undergraduate science student Gregory Stubbs realised that aquaculture would be the only way to meet future seafood demand. He began farming trout in a single porta pool on the family farm in Franschhoek before going on to complete an MSc in Aquaculture at Sterling University, Scotland.

Thirty years later, Three Streams is a successful operation involving the entire value chain, from egg incubation and on-growing in the Lesotho Highlands, through to processed and value-added products found on leading retail shelves and in food service establishments country-wide.

The process begins in the hatchery on Three Streams farm in Franschhoek, where cold mountain water ensures the right conditions for the hatchlings. It is the largest hatchery of its kind in the country, producing nearly 12 million fingerlings annually. It has become a major supplier of seed stock to trout
farms across Southern Africa.

Since 2006 most of the hatchlings have been moved to the pristine, icy, pollution-free, waters of the Lesotho Highlands for on-growing.

The farm is situated at Ha Lajone, a rural community in the Highlands, and is dedicated to involving and uplifting the community in various ways:

  • Direct employment
  • Aquaculture training
  • Processing skills
  • Tourism
  • Commercial fishing
  • Sportfishing
  • Support of local businesses

Trout grown in this region is melt-in-the-mouth tender because of the remarkably high water quality and
sustainable farming methods. The Katse Fish Farm project is set to become the largest trout aquaculture project in Africa, bringing prosperity to an impoverished region and top class Royale Highlands fish to consumers around the world.

The third arm of the business, Three Streams Smokehouse, is situated in Franschhoek and is the country’s leading processing facility for trout, salmon and a variety of premium quality seafood products. The company is dedicated to preserving the environment and increasing its green footprint wherever possible:

  • Power reduction: Heat from cold room compressors is used to heat water, eliminating the need for electric geysers.
  • Water saving technology: Water is recycled into farming operations.
  • Recycling: All waste, from organic to inorganic material is recycled.
  • Ongoing research: This investigates the protein beneficiation of waste fish products, from silage through to oil extraction.
  • Alien clearing and revegetation projects where fires have devastated indigenous riverine habitat.

All farmed fish is sourced from sustainably farmed operations with full traceability. Wild caught fish are obtained from controlled and approved fisheries.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing sustainable food production sector in the world. Trout farmed in a sustainable and ethical manner has the lowest carbon footprint of all farm-raised animals and deserves
a place at every chef’s table.

This article first appeared in Issue 11 of SA Chef Magazine