South Africa's oceans if exploited and managed properly could add one million jobs to the economy and R177 billion to the country's gross domestic product by 2033, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.
Zuma, who was speaking in Durban at government's recently launched Operation Phakisa open day, said the oceans had the potential to "contribute up to R177bn to GDP and create just over one million jobs by 2033".
He said Operation Phakisa had "brought together teams from government, labour, business, academia and other sectors to work together in experimental laboratories, to explore all possibilities and further unlock the potential of our country's vast coastline".
He said these teams had highlighted a number of opportunities that the country could take advantage of because of its location.
These ranged from shipbuilding to aquaculture, and oil and natural gas exploration.
He said it was a concern that South Africa did not have a any merchant vessels flying the South African flags.
"This is in spite of the fact that each year, 300 million tons of cargo moves through our ports in imports and exports."
He said the country was well positioned to become a service centre for offshore oil and gas production and exploration.
"Of the 80 oil rigs estimated to be in the range of the Western Cape, only four rigs are serviced per year, showing significant potential for growth," he said.
He said the country was also in the process of establishing a national shipping company in partnership with South Korea.