THE Japanese seafood giant Nissui has bought a $25 million stake in the Australian fish farming Seafarms group (SFG) to help it develop one of the world’s largest prawn farms.
The Seafarms group’s existing prawn farming operations are in the state of Queensland and produce more than one-third of total domestic production of farmed prawns in Australia, where, said Nissui, the required environmental standards create high barriers to entry.
The $1.5 billion Sea Dragon project will create 10,000 hectares of black tiger prawn ponds in Australia’s Northern Territory.
‘Nissui decided to proceed with its investment in SFG when it was satisfied that its proposed new large scale prawn farming project in Northern Territory of Australia, known as Project Sea Dragon, would obtain the necessary government approvals for the development,’ the company said in a statement.
‘It is also of strategic significance for Nissui to secure a differentiated farmed prawn business base and products.’
Through this equity participation, Nissui said it will market the black tiger prawn products from Project Sea Dragon exclusively in Japanese, Australian and New Zealand markets, on top of potential global distribution through the Nissui Global Links network.
Nissui Group, which also owns the Caistor Seafoods (formerly Sealord) fish processing operation near Grimsby in the UK, will distribute in Japan and Oceania region approximately 2,000 tonnes a year of black tiger and other prawns sourced from SFG’s existing Queensland prawn farming operations.
It added: ‘Despite a declining trend in the Japanese prawn market, expansion in the United States, Europe and China supports substantial demand for farmed prawns due to its stable quality, quantity and price.’
Nissui said it pursues ‘sophistication of aquaculture business’ as one of the major themes in its marine products business and has already started a feasibility study of onshore farming of vannamei shrimp for eating raw in Japan.