Australian abalone, lobster exporter seeks investor to help it expand into China

Ocean Australian Food, based in Port Lincoln, South Australia, is seeking a Chinese investor to help it scale up its abalone and lobster mariculture operation.

The firm, which also has a processing plant in Port Lincoln, is looking for AUD 25 million (USD 18.4 million, EUR 16.8 million) for the first stage of its Greenlip abalone production plan. It is also seeking another AUD 25 million for the second stage of its lobster production plans, part of a joint venture with an American lobster producer. 

“Our project is great for Chinese investors as our products are sent to Hong Kong only,” Ocean Australian Food Chairman Ben Jayaweera told SeafoodSource. “With our stage one expansion, we could export our products to mainland, and I believe with the support of the right Chinese partner, we could be in a position to become the biggest high-valued seafood exporter from Australia to China.”

One of the biggest leases and licence holders in South Australian waters, Ocean Australia has the capacity to produce more than 2,000 metric tons of seafood, Jayaweera said. However, the company needs investors to help it roll out its self-developed underwater flat-net technology. 

“We believe it is the most environment friendly seafloor system,” he said. “[It functions] eight meters above the seabed, thus allowing number of species such as abalone, lobster and scallops, etcetera, to grow in the natural environment.”

According to Jayaweera, the company’s abalone hatchery in Streaky Bay, South Australia has "successfully spawned over one million spats, which we will be ready to go into the sea system at Elliston in a year.”


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