Our history

Fully transformed

Pioneer Fishing has grown from humble beginnings in 1947 to an industry-leading producer of quality canned pelagic fish, fishmeal and fish oil for local and international markets. We have a rich history in development and technical innovation.

We kickstarted our transformation journey in 1998 and came full circle in 2019 by becoming the first truly African commercial fishing company as envisioned by the government as a core element of industry transformation.

For the first time in South Africa a major fishing group is owned by a broad base of historically disadvantaged individuals, with significant economic benefits accruing to black women. This is a significant milestone towards the national government’s objective of ensuring a broader geographical sharing of economic benefits across the country; away from the historical wealthier economic centres.


Small beginnings – The original company was established in Paternoster on the West Coast of South Africa


Expansion – The fifth community centre built to benefit employees and families


Pioneering spirit – First in industry to use refrigerated sea water on pelagic fishing trawlers


Beginning of transformation – African Pioneer Group (APG) becomes a 40% shareholder


Shared ownership scheme – The Employee Share Ownership Trust (ESOP) was established as a 10% shareholder of the company. The majority of ESOP's beneficiaries are from historically disadvantaged backgrounds


Upgrading – R35 million upgrade to the St Helena Bay processing plant


Sharing success – Record ESOP payout of R8 126 million


Full-circle transformation – African Pioneer Marine (part of APG) becomes a 90% shareholder

With knowledge and experience gained over time, this transaction strengthens the industry and signifies real empowerment. It completes the full transformation circle and demonstrates commitment to changeCharles ManningChief Financial Officer of Pioneer Fishing