Barramundi Group chief executive James Kwan, sixth from left, with staff in Brunei.

Barramundi grower secures £8.8m funding offer to build RAS hatchery in Brunei


Barramundi Group today announced that its Brunei operations have secured a funding offer of BND $15 million (£8.8m) from a Bruneian financial institution.

The facility, subject to finalisation and completion, will enable the construction of a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) broodstock and hatchery centre, complementing existing RAS nursery operations, and the immediate deployment of sea cages at the company’s existing sea lease, Pelong Rocks. The deployment is slated for mid 2024.

“With the new broodstock and hatchery facility, the Brunei operations will be able to capitalise on the genetic nucleus from our Singapore broodstock - naturally bred and selected over 20 years - to spawn and culture fry and fingerlings within Brunei,” the company said in a press release.

Re-entering China

“The capacity of this facility will allow Brunei to be sufficient not only for the Phase 1 Pelong Rocks grow-out cages, with an annual capacity of 1,000 tonnes, but also for Phase 2 requirements of the planned 3,000-tonne land-based RAS facility.

“The immediate deployment of Pelong Rocks will help to smooth the gap in production and revenues, but also provide the Group with an opportunity to re-enter the China market - one of our largest and key markets, previously unreachable with a Singapore-grown product.

“The securing of this initial funding, in the present economic climate, and following the many difficulties the Group has faced in recent years, is encouraging. We now focus on the work ahead to establishing the funding requirements of Phase 2 of BG 2.0, as well as the Group."

Australian salmon and shrimp farmer Tassal, owned by global seafood heavyweight Cooke, bought Barramundi Group's Australian farming subsidiary  MPA Fish Farms Pty Ltd in August last year. Barramundi Group had appointed administrators for MPA in May after a deal to sell the operation fell through.