Some days ago, the Barramundi Group has announced that has plans for AUD 300 million (near USD 217) development near their Cone Bay operations off the coast of Derby, in Australia. This expansion would see the development of 13 new leases across Buccaneer Archipelago, which would increase their Kimberley barramundi production rate from 1,500 tones a year to 30,000 tones.
The proposed development would take place in three stages over 10 years, increasing in 10,000 tone capacity increments. Pending financing and approvals, the first fish could be pulled from the new sites as early as 2025, the company has reported.
In this way, the company plans to take West Australian barramundi to the world. “We think we are really only at the beginning” said Andreas von Scholten, Chief Executive Officer from Barramundi Group.
The company, which runs barramundi farms in Singapore and Brunei, acquired Cone Bay in 2018, and currently is operating 32 sea cages at the site. Barramundi Group chief executive, Andreas von Scholten, said the company was now in a position to upscale and improve profitability at the “loss-making” Kimberley operation.
“What makes us very excited about it is obviously we have now a few years of experience in seeing how the fish are thriving in the waters in the Kimberley in Cone Bay. The new sites have been identified to be even better than Cone Bay,” said von Scholten.
Until now, Cone Bay barramundi was primarily consumed by Australia’s domestic market, with limited international exports.
Ambitions to develop international markets
Barramundi Group has submitted plans to boost production at its Kimberley fish farm in three stages over 10 years. But Barramundi Group had big ambitions to develop international markets for the popular restaurant dish, with interest already established with customers from the United States, China and Singapore.
“There has been quite good feedback from the various consumers that we have introduced the product to. We also believe that as supply increases, we will see more channels open up in terms of demand,” von Scholten added.
In that sense, the Chief Executive Officer of Barramundi Group said the company had not yet decided whether its new sites would produce fish for the Cone Bay brand, or whether it would establish a new product line.
The company had liaising with experts to formulate a proposal that would mitigate environmental risks, from several years. Barramundi Group referred its project plans to the Environmental Protection Authority just some days ago, with six responses submitted during the public comment period. The expansion plans have now been submitted to the relevant authorities, including Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority.
The largest barramundi producer in Australia and Asia
Currently, Barramundi Group operates three ocean farms in Australia, Singapore and Brunei, each of which are the largest barramundi sea farms in each geography. The company, which is certified by Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), is the largest barramundi producer in Australia and Asia, and has markets in Singapore, Australia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and the United States.
The members of the company explained: “We choose to farm our fish in their natural habitat because it is the best way to ensure they are produced in an environmentally friendly manner. The ocean’s energetic currents at our sites ensure that our fish stay active, which helps to enhance its texture. Farming also allows us to regulate feed and nutrition, keeping toxins out of their diets.”
“Through thoughtful site selection, we ensure our farms are sustainable based on strict environmental criteria. In clean, oxygen-rich waters and strong currents, our barramundi is grown in ideal conditions to deliver healthy, clean tasting fish to consumers.”