Groupers cross the sea

|     Azlan Othman     |

IT WAS a momentous occasion for local company Nur Nabai Aquaculture Sdn Bhd as it embarked on exporting hybrid grouper fish to the Hong Kong market.

The first shipment containing three tonnes of live fish left the Brunei shore yesterday.

The company, which began operations on August 30, 2016, is located on a six-hectare site in Tanjong Pelumpong in the Brunei-Muara District.

Nur Nabai Aquaculture is a joint venture between local investor Fisherod Enterprise and an investment company from Indonesia’s PT Sumatera Budidaya Marine.

Present to witness the first delivery of the fish were Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, and YB Pengiran Haji Mohamed bin Pengiran Haji Osman @ Othman, a Legislative Council member and Village Head of Kampung Masjid Lama, Pekan Muara, Sabun and Pelumpong.

In addition to fish breeding in cage, the joint venture company is planning to develop hybrid grouper breeds by establishing hatcheries and nurseries in Kampong Sungai Paku in the Tutong District at the end of this year.

The establishment of such hatcheries and nurseries in the country will not only ensure a more competitive price for fish farmers, but also support the supply of high quality fish fry that is adequate and sustainable.

Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, loading the harvested groupers into the export vessel. - PHOTOS: MOHD SAHRIZAL
Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, loading the harvested groupers into the export vessel. – PHOTOS: MOHD SAHRIZAL
Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, taking a closer look at the operations of Nur Nabai Aquaculture Sdn Bhd
Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, taking a closer look at the operations of Nur Nabai Aquaculture Sdn Bhd

Nur Nabai Aquaculture will also cooperate with local fish farmers through contract farming. Through this initiative, the company will supply hybrid grouper fry to local fish farmers and buy back the fish once they reach the required size, to be marketed to markets in Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China.

According to senior officials of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT), Nur Nabai Aquaculture Sdn Bhd is one of the several companies that are active in aquaculture activity, and is making all out efforts to double output, targeting export markets.

Although in operation for the last 10 months only, the company has managed to make its first export.

This is in line with the aspiration of the ministry to help diversify economic activities of locals and stimulate the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

“Nur Nabai Aquaculture Sdn Bhd is expected to produce 1,200 tonnes of hybrid fish annually by 2020 with an expected monthly export of 100 metric tonnes. This means that Brunei Darussalam has the potential to become the largest producer of fish in Asean by 2020,” said Michael Chang, manager of the company.

Meanwhile, a local partner Haji Abdul Rudi bin Haji Abdul Rahim said the company is very fortunate to have partners from abroad with extensive experience in fish farming, and a strong network of export markets in Hong Kong and China.

“The company is extremely grateful for the strong support and cooperation from the government, especially the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism,” he added.

Through its various projects, Nur Nabai Aquaculture Sdn Bhd is expecting a six-fold increase in fish production by 2020 compared to 2015 and hoping to generate about 100 jobs.

Also present at the ceremony were Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin, the Permanent Secretary at MPRT and senior officials at the ministry.