Brunei fisheries sector gets shot in the arm

National 2 minutes, 3 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

Nearly 500ha in Tutong set aside for fish, shrimp farms; $60m expected to be generated annually

THE fisheries sector is expected to gain more than $60 million annually from the production output of two allocated sites in the Tutong district to facilitate aquaculture activities and entice both local and foreign businesses to invest in the opportunities presented.

Once both sites are completely occupied, Brunei should expect a huge boost to its fisheries revenue.

The two sites, which are both already partially developed, are located in the Tutong district.

Some 459 hectares (ha) have been allocated for shrimp farming in the Penyatang River, while 40ha have been designated for fish farming in the same Telisai area.

"We're hoping that the fish farm area will be ready next year," Hj Sabri Hj Mohd Taha, a representative from the strategic development division of the fisheries department told The Brunei Times.

Estimated production output from the Telisai fish farming site is said to be at 5,600 metric tonnes per annum. The target markets for the high-value fish species bred at the farm include China and Europe.

Already, a Taiwanese firm has shown keen interest to start farming grouper fish once the fish farming site is operational.

"We have awarded a Taiwan-based company to do grouper farming," Hj Sabri said, adding that the firm is a joint venture with a local business.

For the shrimp farming site, the fisheries department representative said that the ministry has already awarded a 100-ha area to a local company for farming black tiger prawns.

"We're inviting entrepreneurs and businesses to apply for the tender to move in (to the Penyatang River site) and develop the shrimp industry."

The authorities are keen in encouraging businesses farm the black tiger prawns as they see a huge potential for these species in the export market.

"Possible export markets for the monodon prawns (black tiger) are the US and Japan," he explained.

The closing date for interested parties to submit tender application is February 26.

According to statistics gathered by the fisheries department, the overall output for last year has dropped compared to 2006. However, much of this was due to "unfavourable weather conditions during the first quarter of last year".

Brunei exports its Mexican White prawns — more commonly known as the blue shrimp — to developed nations like America, Japan and Korea.

Currently only the Mexican White is competitive enough to be exported in huge volumes. However, the sultanate also exports black tiger prawns.

The Brunei Times