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Can barramundi become "the salmon of the tropics"?

22 January 2020, at 12:59pm

One of the world’s largest fully integrated barramundi farming enterprises has been achieved by the merger of Barramundi Asia and Allegro Aqua, which was announced today.

The merger of Barramundi Asia (BA) and Allegro Aqua (AA), integrates the efforts and successes of several multi-year R&D programmes undertaken by both companies – including sustainable farming practices, selection of superior traits using genomics and marker-assisted breeding, autogenous vaccines, grow-out, downstream processing and global market reach into one concerted value chain.

Barramundi Asia specialises in production and processing, Allegro Aqua  in producing an elite strain of Lates calcifer
Barramundi Asia specialises in production and processing, Allegro Aqua in producing an elite strain of Lates calcifer

© Barramundi Asia

Andreas von Scholten, CEO of Barramundi Asia, says: “Allegro Aqua’s expertise in life sciences research and innovation will empower Barramundi Asia to realise synergies from improved genetics. With this merger, Barramundi Asia’s quest to make barramundi the ‘salmon of the tropics’ has been further advanced. Our end to end, in-house expertise will now span barramundi genomics, proprietary autogenous vaccines, Best Aquaculture Practice’s highest 4–star rated nursery-cum-husbandry practices, best-in-class grow-out capabilities, as well as EU-compliant post-harvest processing.”

The merger follows BA’s success in scaling up its production and distribution of its barramundi products globally – both from Singapore and Australia - while it also has plans to expand in Brunei too. The merger will see additional synergies coming from enhanced productivity, reduced mortality and improved feed conversion ratio from using selected superior fingerlings, customised vaccines and operating across recirculating and bio-secure hatchery, nursery and grow-out pens on and near the Southern Islands of Singapore.

With a commitment towards environmental stewardship and responsible farming, the merger is expected to strengthen food fish production targets and introduce sustainable practices across diverse geographical regions, to better meet the food security needs of Singapore and the region.

One of Barramundi Asia's farms off the coast of Australia
One of Barramundi Asia's farms off the coast of Australia

© Barramundi Asia

BA’s fish stocks are already vaccinated by proprietary autogenous vaccines produced by UVAXX, a subsidiary of BA, which provides custom autogenous vaccines and health monitoring support. Combined with AA’s elite St John’s sea bass fry and fingerlings, production volumes will be enhanced. As the only farm in Singapore with the highest 4-star Best Aquaculture Practices rating, BA’s commitment to sustainability and traceability has seen their filleted fish, marketed under the trade name Kühlbarra, widely endorsed by multiple Michelin-rated chefs, celebrity restaurateurs, and premier hotel chains.

AA will now put greater emphasis to continue to work with UVAXX and the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) to develop future generations of vaccinated barramundi fingerlings for BA’s nucleus of regional farms; as well as other barramundi farms in Singapore and the Southeast Asian region.

Andrew Kwan, director of Barramundi Asia, says: “What will be truly industry transforming is the plan to supply superior vaccinated barramundi fingerlings to other farmers in Singapore. This will be coupled with a guaranteed buy-back programme when the fish are ready for harvest. To this end, farmers who opt-in on this scheme will follow a strict prescribed feeding program and adhere to the international standards of husbandry practices adopted by Barramundi Asia because it will be a branded product.”