Danish seafood producer Aqua Partners is seeking out $65 million from new investors in order to develop an organic fish farm 45km west of Melbourne.
The land-based farm, set to be the only the fourth such facility in the world and the first of its kind on Australia, will be built across a 100-hectare site north east of Geelong in Avalon.
Aqua-Partners ApS, the Melbourne-based arm of the Danish company, is tapping the market in order to kickstart the facility.
If realised, the facility would be capable of processing up to 2,400 tonnes of fresh seafood with the capacity to expand to 12,000 tonnes.
The farm will use recirculated saltwater using technology already operating in Switzerland, Denmark and Norway, designed by a global leader in water treatment technology, Kruger.
The facility will feature 10 fish tanks measuring 50 metres in diameter and five metres high.
The push for sustainably sourced and healthy food choices has seen a rise in developing markets such as China, India, and Brazil, while the global coronavirus crisis has also created feverish investment in supermarket retail, with many now moving quickly to capitalise on the moment.
Aqua Partners managing director Dan Callaghan said Australia was uniquely placed within Asia to develop an entirely new industry around sustainable seafood production.
“We are at a critical point in the growth of this industry where smart investment can mean Australia becomes a leading supplier and exporter of the best, most sustainable, and environmentally responsible, land-based aquaculture industry,” Callaghan said.
Callaghan said while it was a newly-emerging industry, the land-based aquaculture system offered enormous potential for growth.
“On average annual production will need to increase by at least 1 million to 2 million tonnes per annum to meet this demand and that means the fish farming industry will need to significantly upscale.”
Callaghan said the smart money was now moving into agriculture to both produce healthier food and take advantage of evolving consumer habits.
Across the country, supermarket sales fuelled by panic hoarding, has seen the likes of Woolworths and Coles grab a sizeable market share left by the cafe and restaurant sector, and in turn doubling the size of their online businesses.
While the initial panic hoarding is starting to moderate, retailers’ sales remain very strong as social distancing measures continue to drive a material shift from out-of-home consumption to in-home consumption.