15/01/2008 - 14:15

Freo group seeks $2m to develop aquaculture venture

15/01/2008 - 14:15


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Fremantle-based McRobert Aquaculture Group Ltd is seeking $2 million from investors to develop its fish farming business.

Fremantle-based McRobert Aquaculture Group Ltd is seeking $2 million from investors to develop its fish farming business.

McRobert plans to establish a 150 tonne per annum facility north of Perth in the first stage of a five-year program to reach 8,000 tonne capacity.

The company, which is releasing an information memorandum, said it has patented a system designed in conjunction with the Aquaculture Development Unit of Challenger TAFE.

Its existing products include fish handling and husbandry innovations.

The company is offering investors up to 26 per cent of our issued capital, valuing the company at $8 million.

According to ASIC records, McRobert was originally registered as Aquanova Group Ltd.

The company was founded by Ian McRobert whose previous business was in PVC technology.

In 1990 Ian, together with, his son, Craig, established McRobert Contracting Services Pty Ltd which is a national leader in PVC pipe technology and related services, including PVC pipeline welding, polyethylene welding, high pressure jet pipe cleaning, chemical treatment of pipes to prevent root growth and camera inspections of pipe and sewage systems


Below is the full announcement:

A Western Australian aquaculture company is gearing up to produce 8,000 tonnes of farmed finfish per annum within five years using its revolutionary technology to meet surging global demand in the face of dwindling wild fish stocks.

The Fremantle-based McRobert Aquaculture Group has perfected its patented systems after teaming up with the Aquaculture Development Unit (ADU) of Challenger TAFE, a widely recognised global leader in fish farming research and technology.

McRobert has now released an Information Memorandum to raise funds to capitalise on almost a decade of painstaking research, innovation and trialing of its two systems.

"We're initially looking to raise $2 million," says company founder Ian McRobert, the man chiefly responsible for the revolutionary design of the aquaculture tanks.

"We think this is a very attractive offer, with the investment equating to 26 per cent of our issued capital, valuing the company at $8 million after the funds have been raised," Mc Robert said.

This includes a share in a 55 per cent stake in a $1.5 million rural property north of Perth, where the Group will establish a 150 tonne per annum land-based recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS) next year.

This facility will be expanded within five years to supply 1,000 tonnes per annum of fresh Barramundi , Murray Cod and Silver Perch to the Perth market.

McRobert already has an award-winning 50 tonne semi-intensive floating tank system (SIFTS) operating in Fremantle Harbour with full approval from the Environmental Protection Authority.

This innovative facility, which overcomes the major environmental constraints of conventional sea cages by removing fish waste, will provide high quality live and chilled Ocean Trout, Pink Snapper and Yellowtail Kingfish to local markets by the middle of this year.

"The beauty of SIFTS is that fish can be safely stocked in densities up to ten times higher than in sea cages because aerated water is pumped through the tank at a rate which replenishes the water supply four times an hour," said McRobert.

The group is also on the verge of marketing its technology internationally by entering joint ventures overseas.

Negotiations are already well advanced with partners in East Africa and the UK, and the company has also been approached to enter into joint ventures with established companies in Dubai, Qatar, Iran, Turkey and Malaysia.

Aquaculture already accounts for over 43 per cent of worldwide seafood production annually, and with demand increasing every year at a rate of 10 per cent, the shortfall in supply can only be met through aquaculture.

"We've taken many years to prove up and perfect our systems, learning from the experiences of other aquaculture enterprises ," said McRobert.

"Many saw aquaculture as a fashionable pastime, without realising that their technical and commercial skills were severely lacking," he said.

"We've done our homework thoroughly, and we're now ready to commercialise our processes in a market where demand for seafood products is growing rapidly," said McRobert.


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