Tassal will now produce barramundi as well as salmon and shrimp in Australia.

Cooke-owned Tassal buys Australian barramundi farmer

Kimberley business can be a diamond, says Tassal chief

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Salmon and shrimp farmer Tassal, owned by global seafood heavyweight Cooke, has bought the operator of Australia’s only ocean-based barramundi farm at Cone Bay, in the northwest of the country.

The purchase of MPA Fish Farms Pty Ltd and MPA Marketing Pty Ltd, which were the Australian subsidiaries of Singapore-headquartered Barramundi Group, secures 50 jobs in the Kimberley region, Cooke said.

Barramundi Group appointed administrators for its Australian business in May after a deal to sell the operation fell through.

Turning it around

Tassal is Australia’s largest vertically integrated seafood grower, processor, marketer and seller with nearly 2,000 people employed across Australia.

The company, which farms salmon in Tasmania, said in a press release that it was delighted to add barramundi to its ever-growing list of products.

“Tassal has turned around both the salmon and prawn industries in Australia before and has the skills and capabilities to apply the same learnings and intellectual capital to do this for the MPA companies and the wider barramundi industry in Australia,” said Tassal managing director and chief executive Mark Ryan.

“We are excited to bring world-class engineering, technology, innovative equipment, and 36 years’ experience in aquaculture to operating this barramundi farm.”

Growth opportunities

MPA currently produces around 1,600 tonnes of barramundi annually, and Barramundi Group had hoped to expand production to 10,000 tonnes, and then 30,000 tonnes, but failed to find a strategic partner to fund its plans.

It has applied for permission to establish 13 sites spread across the Buccaneer Archipelago.

“Once operations are consolidated, we will look at growth opportunities. This is a huge winfor Northern Western Australia, and a win for local jobs and investment,” said Ryan. “At Tassal we work in regional areas across the country and are committed to working closely with traditional owners and the local community.”

Tassal branded barramundi is due to reach the market in November 2023, just in time for an Australian summer.