S'pore fish farm to aim for highest sustainable farming standards in aquaculture

Barramundi Group rears its fish in ocean farms located in Australia (pictured), Singapore, and Brunei.
Barramundi Group rears its fish in ocean farms located in Australia (pictured), Singapore, and Brunei.PHOTO: BARRAMUNDI GROUP

SINGAPORE - Sustainable aquaculture will take a step forward as local farm Barramundi Group enters a landmark partnership with the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) Singapore to increase responsible seafood production in Singapore.

WWF-Singapore will provide guidance for the implementation of the aquaculture improvement work plan and mark out milestones for Barramundi Group to reach the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification, the partners said on Wednesday (Sept 29).

The ASC certification is awarded to farms that are independently assessed and certified as being environmentally and socially responsible when farming seafood.

The execution and delivery of the project will take place at the new grow-out site between Lazarus and St John's islands, as well as at Barramundi Group's deep-sea fish farm in the southern Singapore Strait, which occupies two sites.

Barramundi Group, a leader in pioneering the future of barramundi through end-to-end sustainable aquaculture, was the first company to secure a four-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) rating in Australia in 2016 and Singapore in 2018.

The latest update from Barramundi Group comes amid an ongoing study commissioned by the authorities to look into the possibility of scaling up commercial fish farming in Singapore’s southern waters.

The bulk of Singapore’s 110 licensed sea-based fish farm sites are in the Johor Strait, with 108 coastal fish farms there.

The study, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, includes assessing the level of fish production that the waters can support without impacting the site conditions, The Straits Times reported earlier this year.

A similar study commissioned by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) in 2018 for the Johor Strait had shown that certain sites in the northern waters were nearing maximum production levels.

The study concluded that with the implementation of certain management measures, the aquaculture zones could see increased production levels.

Production above maximum levels, however, could result in poorer water quality within the farming zones and impact farm productivity. Sustainable farming systems were then targeted to be adopted in the southern waters, said SFA in March.

The Barramundi Group produces around 2,000 tonnes of fish across Australia, Singapore and Brunei – with 1,837 tonnes in 2020 and around 2,200 tonnes in 2021 to date.

Mr Andreas von Scholten, chief executive of Barramundi Group, said: "Our partnership with WWF-Singapore is only the beginning of a long-term relationship that could accelerate Singapore's journey to raising responsible seafood consumption."

Mr R. Raghunathan, chief executive officer of WWF-Singapore, said the collaboration is "an important step forward to increasing the domestic supply of responsible seafood - supporting both the Green Plan 2030 and the 30 by 30 goal".

"It is also a critical milestone for our Responsible Seafood Action (React) programme, which aims to help Singapore develop into an internationally recognised hub for responsible aquaculture production, while encouraging responsible seafood consumption by engaging stakeholders across the seafood value chain."