Chief and State Finance Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman stresses the importance of using sustainable methods. (Photo: StockFile)
Deal signed for world's biggest lobster aquaculture park
Wednesday, November 07, 2012, 00:40 (GMT + 9)
Darden Aquascience Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants Inc, has signed a deal to build the first-ever Integrated Lobster Aquaculture Park (iLAP) in Semporna, Sabah, with Nexus Sustainable Seafood Sdn Bhd and Inno Fisheries Sdn Bhd.
The MYR 2 billion (USD 652.9 million) 9,300 ha-park would generate more than 14,000 high income jobs by 2022 and up to 40 million lb of hatchery-based tropical Sabah native spiny lobsters once it reaches maximum capacity in 2029.
It would be the biggest lobster farm in the world. The plan is to sell the crustaceans in Asia and supply them to Darden’s restaurants.
The pilot hatchery is expected to begin next year, Borneo Post reports.
"I wish to emphasise that we welcome Foreign Direct Investments from strategic partners that are able to stimulate the local economy and generate income for Malaysians in Sabah,” said Chief and State Finance Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. "Our cooperation with Darden Inc is timely as we move forward to unlock the potential of Sabah's natural endowments using sustainable methods.”
Musa said it marked a significant milestone for Malaysia’s aquaculture industry. He estimates the global market for lobsters at over USD 4 billion a year with the Asia Pacific region, particularly China, making up about 75 per cent, Daily Express reports.
"The pioneering sustainable lobster aquaculture initiative would place Malaysia and Sabah on the global aquaculture map," he stated.
"It is our hope that there will be a number of high-income farmers in Sabah's east coast once this project starts and develops," he commented.
Musa is expecting iLAP to attract other foreign investors who wish to enter the country’s food production sector.
"This business venture has already opened an opportunity for bumiputera company Ever Nexus, together with Inno Fisheries Sdn Bhd, to successfully form a partnership with Darden Inc. This goes to show that effective participation of Bumiputera entrepreneurs is achievable within the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and other national level plans," he said.
Meanwhile, Darden Restaurants, Inc Chairman and CEO Clarence Otis said the move was a milestone event for the company.
"As Darden continues to grow, our business is expanding to new geographies and into new lines of business. Lobster aquaculture is one of those, and we believe it's an undertaking that holds great promise not only for our company and our planet, but also for the people of Malaysia," he stated.
Darden also planned to build a regional operations hub in Malaysia to assist with potential future restaurant growth in the Asian market.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Ever Nexus Dr Shahridan Faiez said the Sabah region was the best location for developing this project due to its pristine resources and geography.
"We're very excited to be working with Darden on this ground breaking initiative that will promote sustainability while helping to meet the growing global demand for seafood and helping relieve pressure on wild fisheries," he said.
- Darden to build world's biggest lobster farm
By Natalia Real