Asian bank supports barramundi production and methane emissions focused projects in Vietnam

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/simoncarter
© GettyImages/simoncarter

Related tags seaweed barramundi Vietnam Aquaculture

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Australis have signed a $15m convertible note to promote ocean-based barramundi and seaweed aquaculture in Vietnam.

The investment will fund working capital to expand Australis’ operations at Van Phong Bay in central Vietnam and to support the development of a second regional production hub in the southern part of that Asian country.

This is ADM’s first aquaculture equity investment in Vietnam.

“ADB’s assistance will support the government’s efforts to develop sustainable aquaculture, particularly large-scale farming of high value species for export. Aquaculture can support low-carbon protein production, while tropical ocean farming is more resilient to climate risks,” said Suzanne Gaboury, ADB director general for private sector operations.

Established in 2006, Australis is vertically integrated with operations encompassing breeding, hatcheries, ocean farms, processing, packaging, and export. It is the world’s largest barramundi producer. Also known as Asian sea bass, the species is adaptable and resilient, well suited to aquaculture, with high export value. Australis pioneered the development of modern, large-scale marine aquaculture in Vietnam.

“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 tons of annual barramundi production,” said Australis CEO, Josh Goldman.

The CEO told The Fish Site​ in June that the company was partially insulated from the big commodity swings, given its focused use of fishery by-products in its feeds.

Seaweed and methane emissions reduction project  

The Climate Innovation and Development Fund (CIDF), which is administered by the ADB, will also provide an additional $3m grant to Australis’ subsidiary, Greener Grazing. 

The award will be used to support that business' research and development work in relation to the cultivation of asparagopsis taxiformis seaweed in Vietnam.

“This species of seaweed has been demonstrated to significantly reduce enteric methane emissions when included in cattle feed. Seaweed farms can also mitigate ocean acidification and enhance climate resilience of marine ecosystems and have carbon sequestration potential,” noted an ADB press release.

Launched in September 2021, CIDF is a blended finance facility managed by ADB, established with an initial $25m philanthropic commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Goldman Sachs. The fund has the potential to unlock up to $500m in private sector and governmental investments in support of sustainable low-carbon economic development.

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