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RM2 Billion Lobster Farm for Sabah

MALAYSIA - Sabah is set to become a major lobster producer when a RM2 billion Integrated Lobster Aquaculture Park (iLAP) deal takes off at Pulau Timbun Mata in Semporna.

Yayasan Sabah, through its subsidiary Inno Fisheries Sdn Bhd, will sign the deal to set up the world's first iLAP with Darden Aquafarm, a subsidiary of Darden Inc, in Kuala Lumpur, reports NewStraitsTimes.

Darden is the owner of Red Lobster and other seafood restaurant chains in the United States with 2,000 outlets and 180,000 employees.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the project would cover 9,300ha of land, comprising 6,000ha for tropical lobster production, 700ha for a research and development, training and demonstration farm, and 2,600ha for mussel (feed) production.

"This project includes hatching, production, feeding and processing, and it will be part of a 15,000ha area to be gazetted as a Lobster Aquaculture Zone, regulated by the Sabah Fisheries Department," he said after meeting Darden Aquafarm Inc president Bill Herzig at Sri Gaya.

Mr Musa, who is also Sabah finance minister, said the iLAP would comprise the core entity, small-and-medium enterprises and contract farming. Upon its completion in 2020, he said the farm could generate RM3 billion in annual revenue and provide 12,000 jobs. It would also encourage participation from locals as contract farmers or as entrepreneurs through a buy-back scheme.

Meanwhile, Mr Herzig said they chose Sabah because of the natural suitability for the industry and the government policies.

He said iLAP would become a commercial lobster grow-out project and could supply the Asian market in the future.

Lucy Towers

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