Minister visits shrimp farm site

Rokiah Mahmud

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong made a working visit to the Sungai Penyatang Shrimp Culture Site and the Water Supply Pump Station in Kampong Keramut, Tutong District yesterday, for a closer look at the development of shrimp farming in the area.

At the 200-hectare Sungai Penyatang Shrimp Culture Site, run by Golden Corporation Sdn Bhd (GC), the minister and his delegation were briefed on the daily operations at the farm by GC Managing Director Richard Chuang His Shan.

Later, Chuang demonstrated the Automated Water Quality equipment used to measure the salt levels of water in the breeding ponds, along with oxygen solution, temperature and other water parameters, utilising a water quality sensor system and computerised electronics by means of Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

The minister and his delegation witnessed the harvesting of the first Vannamei (white shrimp) culture at GC’s Zone A, with a production yield of three metric tonnes. With this harvest, GC’s shrimp production is expected to triple from 104 metric tonnes – 33 metric tonnes of Vannamei and 60 metric tonnes of Tiger Prawns – until March 2020.

GC is targetting a production yield of up to 2,000 metric tonnes by the end of this year, to the value of BND15.98 million.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong in a group photo. PHOTO: RAHWANI ZAHARI

The Vannamei is a new species introduced last October, adding to the list of shrimp species being cultivated in Brunei Darussalam, including the Rostris and the Tiger Prawn.

Apart from its 200-hectacre Sungai Penyatang farm, GC is raising Rostris and Vannamei culture at a 31-hectare site in Kampong Keramut, Telisai, along with a 25-hectare plot in Sungai Paku. The company also has a contract farming scheme with several other shrimp farms.

The minister’s last stop was the Water Supply Pump Station in Kampong Keramut, which is managed by the Fisheries Department, in ensuring a steady supply of sea water to the shrimp farms covering 92 hectares of land in the area.

In an interview with the Bulletin, Chuang said that the overseas market demand for the Brunei blue shrimp is very high.

“Our company has successfully penetrated the international market in Australia, China, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, France, United States and several countries in the Middle East,” he said.

“Approximately 85 per cent of our shrimp harvest is for the export market, while the rest is for the local market.”

This year, GC has set aside 138 ponds for the breeding and harvesting of the Vannamei, and 62 for the blue shrimp.

“I would like to thank the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for providing the support and assistance, including the infrastructure, location and land in ensuring the success of this industry,” said Chuang.