Japanese giant Mitsui invests £43m in trout farm project

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The giant Japanese trading group Mitsui is investing a further 78.5 billion Yen (£43m) in a major RAS trout farming project.

It means that Mitsui now has a majority 50.4% stake in the trout producer known as FRD Japan. The new plant will be sited at Futtsu-shi, Chiba, around 25 miles east of Tokyo.

Large Japanese corporations have been investing heavily in seafood in recent years in Europe, including the UK, and in Asia.

The announcement on Monday said: “FRD farms and sells rainbow trout raised in its proprietary land-based Closed Recirculating Aquaculture System (“Closed-RAS”).

“FRD’s strength comes from the combination of its (1) water treatment technology for achieving a high water circulation rate using bacteria without the need to draw natural seawater and (2) aquaculture operations backed by extensive operational experience of Closed-RAS.

It added: “Making the most of this strength, it aims to facilitate development of the land-based aquaculture industry, which has thus far faced commercial feasibility issues. FRD aspires to develop series of large-scale plants, starting with this planned commercial plant, with a focus on Asia, including Japan.”

Since Mitsui’s equity participation in FRD six years ago, it has been supporting FRD’s research and development activities.

FRD’s pilot plants at Saitama-shi, Saitama and Kisarazu-shi, in Chiba, have been in operation since 2018. The pilot facilities have farmed more than 20 generations of fish to date, demonstrating stable production of rainbow trout by maintaining what the company calls “ideal water quality for fish growth”.

Based on this work, FRD is now constructing a commercial scale plant.

Mitsui says that against a background of a growing global population and rising living standards, the demand for marine products was increasing year by year which meant the importance of aquaculture was increasing.

FRD pilot plant

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