Barramundi firm Australis Aquaculture sells Massachusetts RAS farm
Australis Aquaculture, a farmer and marketer of barramundi, has sold its land-based recirculating aquaculture system in Turner Falls, Massachusetts, U.S.A. to Barnstable, Massachusetts-based Great Falls Aquaculture.
Australis Aquaculture sells a line of barramundi products in North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe under the Australis and Clean Harvest brands and through private-label partnerships. The company has been ramping up its operations in Vietnam and will shift the entirety of its production there, according to a company press release.
“This was a strategic decision that allows Australis to focus on the expansion of our marine aquaculture operations in Southeast Asia. We will continue to operate all North American sales, marketing, logistics and finance activities from Massachusetts as we grow our global retail and foodservice business,” Australis Founder and CEO Josh Goldman said. “We continue to believe in the importance of recirculating aquaculture technologies and it remains an integral part of our Vietnam farming systems. However, for us, we see our long-term growth in large-scale ocean farming.”
Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Great Falls Aquaculture, owner of Blue Stream Aquaculture, operates a trout and barramundi farm in West Barnstable, Massachusetts and a multi-species farm under construction in New Hampshire. Its management team includes Keith Wilda, a former production manager at Australis’ Turners Falls facility. All employees working on production at the Turners Falls facility will be transferred to Great Falls Aquaculture, and the facility will continue to produce barramundi to serve specialty seafood markets across North America, according to the release.
As a result of the sale, Australis will move its corporate headquarters to Greenfield, Massachusetts. The company said it will retain all members of its executive, sales, logistics, accounting, and marketing teams.
Australis has been operating in Vietnam since 2006, with a growing presence over the years. In 2008, it received a 25-year lease of almost 500 acres in Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam, where it developed a barramundi hatchery and offshore grow-out facilities. In 2016, Australis purchased Marine Farms, formerly a cobia farming firm with a hatchery, shore base facility, and sea sites in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Australis is now the largest aquaculture sea lease holder in Vietnam and has focused on building new farms and expanding processing operations, and has recently invested in seaweed cultivation as an integrated part of its marine aquaculture operations, according to the company.
Goldman said the shift to producing all the company’s barramundi in Vietnam was made possible by the development of “knowledge and expertise needed to scale barramundi production in the marine tropics.”
At the time of the Marine Farms acquisition, Goldman said the company found Vietnam to be “an excellent location to develop our marine production base,” Goldman said.
“We will continue to focus on growing our production of the finest quality barramundi while meeting the highest standards for sustainability as we work to make barramundi the next major aquaculture species,” he said.