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« เมื่อ: มกราคม 31, 2007, 01:43:17 PM »

Source: Herbert River Express  World News    31/01/2007 11:31:18

 
 World barramundi quest


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Dannae Synot

A local award-winning aquaculture operation has found its niche on the international market.

 

The owners of Bermerside-based barramundi farm Barramundi Blue, recently began to expand its operation to meet the demands of the Asian market by building a new operation on Jeju Island, South Korea.

 

In a world first, Barramundi Blue Aquaculture's privately-owned environmentally-friendly recirculative aquaculture Korean joint venture will be used for growing Australian barramundi and Korean rock bream for the live Japanese fish market.

 

Business partners Geoff Orpin and Cynthia Taylor, who are attempting to meet the current market demand at their grassroots operation at Mt Cudmore Rd by producing 60 tonnes or 120,000 live barramundi a year, are in time aiming to produce up to 1000 tonnes or one million fish annually in their overseas operation, which is currently under construction.

 

“We have branched out our developments in South Korea and we are currently in the process of building a complete factory that is one and a half times bigger than our current operation, which will produce 80 tonnes of fish in the first year,'' Mr Orpin said.

 

“The potential of the operation is huge.

 

“To my knowledge we are the the only private company doing joint ventures of this kind internationally, and we are building the operation from scratch.''

 

Barramundi Blue's expansion to Korea took 12 months of extensive research, and construction of the facility began in June last year.

 

The first stage of the development has cost a $US3 million.

 

Mr Orpin has made regular flights overseas, mostly on a monthly basis, to meet with his Korean business partner, YC Kim, and check on progress of the new facility.

 

It will also be the first time that recirculated aquaculture has been introduced to Korea.

 

Every drop of water that is used at Mr Orpin's local operation is recycled, and the same will occur when the operation commences in Korea next month.

 

“Any extra water we use to top up our levels is only five per cent of our capacity, per day,'' Mr Orpin said.

 

With the recirculative aquaculture system, water is continuously biologically refiltered through a hydroponics set-up for re-use.

 

Any wastewater from the tanks is used to grow vegetables and flowers, as an offshoot of the business to generate extra revenue.

 

Mr Orphin said it was also the reason why South Korea was interested in the more `environmentally-friendly' alternative.

 

“Barramundi Blue is looked at as one of the top aquaculture systems in the world now,'' Mr Orpin said.

 

“We have received a lot of tremendous support from Korea, they are more open to it as a way of the future.''

 

Mr Orpin said the Korean venture was going to be a big challenge for him and more so now that enquiries had been received from potential investors in the Philippines, China, Micronesia, the Cook Islands and the Solomon Islands.

 

“We currently have a regular client in Hong Kong to whom we export a couple of hundred kilos of barramundi a week,'' Mr Orpin said.

 

“And we also send fish to other countries in Asia as per order, including Singapore, Taiwan and Korea, as well as wholesalers in Sydney and Brisbane.''

 

These orders are on top of the many enquiries Mr Orpin receives each week from Australia wide from people who have caught on to the company's holistic approach to fish farming.

 

“But it is a matter of logistics and having enough product, and you must remember, this is a two-person operation at the moment,'' Mr Orpin said.

 

This situation will change by May, when Mr Orpin and Ms Taylor, who have leased a large area of land owned by Ports Corporation at Lucinda, will open up a freshwater fish hatchery to meet the growing market demand.

 

“Currently the Ports Corporation are in the final stages of finalising our integrated planning act,'' Mr Orpin said.

 

“We have our leases in place and we will finalise that process in conjunction with the EPA by the end of February.''

 

“If it all goes well, we will commenced construction in early May.''

 

For Barramundi Blue, this will mean the construction of a 400-tonne facility, with a total investment of $8 million in the first stage then up to $5 million in the second stage of development.

 

The company will be investing 51 per cent into the Lucinda operation, the remaining 49 per cent will be controlled by shareholders under the company banner, Aussie Barra Blue.

 

The opening of the new facility will generate employment of up to 30 people once the hatchery is in full operation.

 

“We are looking at farming groper and barramundi cod at our Lucinda facility, but that's probably a little while down the track,'' Mr Orpin said.

 

We want to get our barramundi numbers up first to meet the current demand.''

 http://www.growfish.com.au/content.asp?ContentId=8376
 
 
 
 
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