Australis Aquaculture nets USD 18 million to expand barramundi production in Vietnam

Australis's net pens located off the coast of central Vietnam.

Australis Aquaculture, a vertically-integrated aquaculture producer of barramundi, has received a USD 15 million (EUR 13 million) investment from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a USD 3 million (EUR 2.7 million) grant from the Climate Innovation Development Fund (CIDF).

Australis Aquaculture’s ocean-based farm in Vietnam became the world’s first producer to earn recognition under the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s tropical marine finfish standard, and the company is also Fair Trade-certified. It won the U.S. State Department’s Award for Corporate Excellence in 2021.

The ADB investment is intended to promote climate-resilient, ocean-based barramundi and seaweed aquaculture in Vietnam, according to a release.

“Aquaculture can support low-carbon protein production, while tropical ocean farming is more resilient to climate risks,” ADB Director General for Private Sector Operations Suzanne Gaboury said. “This is our first aquaculture equity investment in Vietnam, and we are proud to partner with Australis.”

Australis Aquaculture currently has a barramundi operation in Van Phong Bay, located in central Vietnam, which Australis CEO Josh Goldman said the funding will help expand.

“ADB’s financing will support the continued growth of our operations in central Vietnam as well as the development of a large new regional production hub where we’ve established a group of leases that will allow us to achieve 50,000 [metric] tons of annual barramundi production,” Goldman said.

The additional USD 3 million grant from CIDF, also administered by ADB, will also go toward expanding the company’s operations into cultivating seaweed – specifically the species Asparagopsis taxiformis. The species has been shown to reduce methane emissions when it is included in cattle feed, according to ADB. In 2018, Australis launched its Greener Grazing initiative to investigate the potential use of asparagopsis to reduce methane emissions from cows.

CIDF is a finance facility managed by ADB established by a USD 25 million (EUR 22 million) commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Goldman Sachs.

“Three billion people across the world depend on seafood for protein, even as global fish stocks fall due to overfishing and temperature rise,” Gaboury said. “ADB’s assistance will support the government’s efforts to develop sustainable aquaculture, particularly large-scale farming of high value species for export.”  

Photo courtesy of the Asian Development Bank


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