Singapore firm to invest BND300M for fish farming

|     Azaraimy HH     |

BARRAMUNDI Asia, a Singaporean fish farming firm, will invest BND300 million to rear barramundi, or sea bass, in large cages in Brunei’s open seas.

The company will build an offshore cage farm to grow kuhlbarra barramundi (selungsong) using technology adopted from salmon farming in Norway, said Joep Staarman, Managing Director of Barramundi Asia in an interview.

Speaking on the sidelines of a signing ceremony between the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) and Barramundi Asia Pte Ltd to formalise the company’s investment, he said, “The attractiveness of Brunei is that it has almost virgin territories, clean and free from diseases. Brunei’s reputation as a clean, undisturbed place will make an excellent brand for export.”

Barramundi Asia is one of the largest barramundi farming companies in the world and draws on world-class sustainable fish farming practices and aquaculture technology.

Present at the signing ceremony was Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism.

Director of Fisheries Mariani binti Haji Sabtu exchanges MoU documents with General Manager of Barramundi Asia Eva Lim, as Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong looks on. – AZARAIMY HH

The MPRT said the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalised the intention of Barramundi Asia to invest and develop an area of 6,613 hectares at Nankivell Offshore Aquaculture Site, establish a hatchery and a fish nursery capable of supplying high-quality sea bass juveniles to offshore fish cages, as well as establish a processing plant. For the land-based operation, the company would be allocated an area of 21 hectares located at Sungai Mangsalut in Kampong Tanah Jambu.

“When in full operation by 2021, the project is expected to produce 40,000 metric tonnes of barramundi fish valued at BND300 million per year which will be exported to Singapore, Australia and Europe.

“The establishment of a hatchery and nursery in Brunei Darussalam will ensure supply of fish for the offshore cages and help reduce the risk of disease importation through the imports of fish fry or fingerlings. The project is also expected to provide about 200 job opportunities for the locals.

“Brunei welcomes investment from Singapore to increase fish production by introducing latest technology in the offshore cage farming as well as providing employment opportunities and other spin-offs businesses for the locals,” the ministry added.

Acting Director of Fisheries Mariani binti Haji Sabtu signed the MoU on behalf of the Department of Fisheries, while Barramundi Asia, Singapore was represented by its General Manager Eva Lim.

Joep Staarman said the company hopes to expedite the construction of the high-technology offshore fish farm, including a hatchery and a fish nursery at Kampong Tanah Jambu.

He said the company will start importing disease-free juveniles from Australia that will take three years to grow to four kilogrammes.

Mariani said the output of the farm will be mostly exported.