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Bali's 10,000 tonne barramundi farm moves closer to completion

14 October 2021, at 7:00am

Plans by NewSeas to develop a 10,000 tonne capacity barramundi farm in northern Bali have been given fresh momentum, after the company signed an MoU with Skretting.

The NewSeas barramundi growing team, on site in Bali
The NewSeas barramundi growing team, on site in Bali

© NewSeas

NewSeas told The Fish Site that it plans begin pilot-scale production of up to 400 tonnes of barramundi early next year, while simultaneously building out capacity for its first 3,000-tonne grow-out site off the northwest coast of Bali. The project will include an integrated hatchery and nursery.

“Bali is an ideal site for barramundi with excellent logistics, deep clean water with good current to maximise fish health, calm seas with no typhoons and stable annual temperatures that are perfect for barramundi growth,” explained Rob Garrison, founder of NewSeas.

“NewSeas is heavily oriented towards proven, robust systems so we can focus on success, sustainability, and scale: Given the site profile, including sea state and good current that keeps our water circulating cleanly for a best-practice footprint, a floating net pen system meets this criteria perfectly,” he added.

The company is targeting an investment of $40 million, which would allow it to reach its 10,000 tonne production capacity.

“We are on target towards our first close around year-end for $18 million. That will cover the first 3,000 tonnes, including the R&D activities,” Garrison explained.

In order to reach the 10,000-tonne target the company has identified two additional sites along the north Bali coast and has been working with local communities for the past few years to ensure support for the plan.

Aquacultural experience

Garrison is no newcomer to barramundi production, having been farming the fish in Bali since 2007 on behalf of a large US seafood firm, and believes that there’s huge potential for the sector to expand.

“Barramundi is an ideal fish for farming here: it really is the ‘salmon of the tropics’ and is perfectly poised to play a huge role in expanding production of a more global and responsible aquaculture. And that really gets to the heart of what NewSeas is about: we have an industry with the potential to absolutely transform our ocean and our planet’s food systems for the better, but production just hasn’t taken off. Production has been held back by a mismatch between farmers and the resources they need to grow production,” explained Garrison.

“Our mission for NewSeas is to combine our deep farming experience and project finance approach to unlock this. We’re focused on production opportunities that are primed for success, sustainability and scale — because that’s the way to make this industry’s positive impacts happen on a level that counts. All of our projects include community ventures, such as seaweed aquaculture, that not only provide local economic benefit, but also contribute IMTA [integrated multi-trophic aquaculture] environmental synergies. Our R&D partnership with Skretting on Bali Blue is just a perfect example of our vision in action, because it embodies that idea of expanding best practice around commercial and environmental profiles that will help grow this industry to its massive potential,” he added.

One of NewSeas' sites, as seen from the air
One of NewSeas' sites, as seen from the air

Meanwhile, Nutreco Indonesia’s president, Wully Wahyuni said in a press release: "We are delighted to be selected as part of NewSeas' effort to expand barramundi production. This is a recognition of our expertise, and extensive knowledge of ingredients and the nutritional needs of aquaculture. With this partnership we hope we can fulfil our company-wide purpose of Feeding the Future.”

Fauzan Bahri, sales director of Skretting Indonesia, added: “Indonesia has a tremendous potential in cultivation as it’s the backbone for food security in Indonesia, and it is our ambition that this partnership will support sustainable ocean barramundi farming."

NewSeas' co-founders Rob Pettit and Rob Garrison added that: "NewSeas plans to expand sustainable barramundi production throughout the tropics and Skretting's proven ability to provide efficient, sustainable feed is an important contribution to realise this vision."