My name is Neil Calver. Mention fish, and you will see the glint in my eye, because I love fish. That is why I breed fish.
Ever since I was a little boy, I was fascinated by fish, and wanted to do nothing else but work with fish. But to live your dream can be a hard and long slog.
I studied Aquaculture at Stellenbosch University, and then, to gain practical experience, found work on a fish farm called Aquaterra, which I later took over. Eventually, Aquaterra grew until the facility’s capacity became too limited for what I had in mind. The time had come for me to swim upstream and start breeding on a larger scale. As a result, my family acquired Nembwe, a farm of 35 hectares, that except for housing, was otherwise undeveloped.
Nembwe offered me the space I needed, but also had an important ecological feature — a seasonal wetland of around 18 hectares, which we did not want to lose. We, therefore, appointed a qualified environmentalist to perform a detailed Enviromental Impact Asssesment. This study led to our wetland being declared a protected conservation area. It also gave us the ability to plan our breeding facilities in an environmentally correct and sustainable way, without impacting on the conservation area. This development started in 2007.
Today the entire farm is run on a closed circuit flow of water originating from the main farm dam. All water is eventually drained back into the main dam via a network of drains, manholes and underground piping, all of which lead to a purpose built slipway. The slipway is comprised of two settlement chambers with reed beds to purify the water before its return into the main system.
Hard work, passion and the will to succeed allowed me to begin making my dream a reality. Today we breed around 250 different species of fish in our fully operational facilities that consist of the following:
- 18 clay ground dams for the rearing of Koi and other coldwater ornamental fish.
- 44 ‘Porta Pools’ for the breeding and rearing of our various species
- One 100 metre tunnel housing 18 breeding and rearing ponds for tropical fish
- One 30 metre tunnel housing 40 ponds for breeding wild-caught Malawi Cichlids
- A tropical hatchery housing 500 tanks for breeding, rearing and holding fish
- A covered Koi display area with a wooden deck and 5 show ponds.
In addition I have set in place and continuously maintain a strict bio-security program to ensure that all fish bred by us are healthy and uncontaminated by outside sources. It is mainly for keeping our bio-security protocol intact, that our show ponds can now only be seen by appointment and under my personal supervision. If you love Koi as much as I do, you would understand that this not only benefits me — but also benefits you, should you choose to purchase Koi from me.