Start-up, fish farm join hands to breed stronger sea bass

They grow 30 per cent faster, and are stouter as well as less prone to disease.

Through a selective breeding programme based on molecular markers, Singapore start-up Allegro Aqua bred "premium" Asian sea bass, or barramundi, in a controlled environment. They were bred from superior brood stock with specific desirable genetic traits.

The start-up was established in 2018 to scale up production of a higher-quality strain of Asian sea bass after scientists from the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory succeeded in breeding superior fingerlings with the support of the National Research Foundation and the former Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority.

Singapore farm Barramundi Asia joined hands yesterday with Allegro Aqua to grow stronger barramundi at faster rates.

The merger of the two companies is expected to help Barramundi Asia produce more fish as well as reduce the mortality rate of its stock, using technology developed by Allegro Aqua.

The merger also aims to strengthen fish production and better meet the food security needs of Singapore and the region, added the companies.

Mr Andrew Kwan, a director of Barramundi Asia, said the firm also has plans to supply superior, vaccinated barramundi fingerlings to other fish farms in Singapore, coupled with a guaranteed buy-back programme when the fish are ready for harvest.

"To this end, farmers who opt in on this scheme will follow a strict prescribed feeding programme and adhere to the international standards of husbandry practices adopted by Barramundi Asia, because it will be a branded product," said Mr Kwan.

Mr Peter Chia, chief executive of Allegro Aqua, said: "This merger reflects our belief that Singapore has the ability to put together and build a robust aquaculture ecosystem, with innovation, trans-disciplinary capabilities and global market access being important pillars of that vision."

 

He added that he hoped the merger would enhance Singapore's and Asia's food security and nutritional needs over the next few years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2020, with the headline 'Start-up, fish farm join hands to breed stronger sea bass'. Print Edition | Subscribe