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Local pair floats potential for redfin perch exports

TWO local businessmen believe they have the skills and technology to create a business with potential worldwide sales of $60 million.

As chairman of Fresher Only, a food distribution and manufacturing company, Sam Satterthwaite has teamed up with West Coast Electro Fishing and Simply Smoked founder Matthew Anderson to launch a new business venture – AusGanics.

Using a technique called electro fishing the pair hopes to harvest redfin perch and marron.

“No-one is really doing electro fishing in WA except for us. Matthew Anderson is the only one qualified and licensed in WA to electro fish,” Mr Satterthwaite said.

“What it [electro fishing] does is create a reverse osmosis. It forces the water backward through the fish’s gills and it puts them to sleep. They float up and we collect them.

“We then take them to a pure water holding dam.”

According to Mr Satterthwaite the redfin perch has great export potential. 

“I remember catching perch and thinking it was a bit ordinary, but then I found out that it is the same as redfin perch found in Lake Geneva and people pay $50 a kilo for it. It’s considered an absolute delicacy,” he said.

“We are going to electro fish the redfin and we are going to market it as Margaret River Redfin.”

The redfin perch is also a predator to the marron and Mr Satterthwaite believes that farming redfin perch out of the dams will allow the marron population to thrive.

And that was the key to the second, and possibly more lucrative, function of the AusGanics business, Mr Satterthwaite said. 

“We want to introduce marron juveniles that have been reared from an aquaculture facility into the redfin perch-free dams and grow, harvest, and market them,” he said.

“We haven’t been able to get them out of the water without trapping them but now we can electro fish them out and we can grow commercial quantities.”

Mr Satterthwaite said there was a good market for marron exports.

“The problem with marron has been supplying the demand,” he said.

But to realise their dream Mr Satterthwaite and Mr Anderson require funding.

The pair is seeking seed investment in the order of $600,000, which will allow them to begin redfin fishing, complete the marketing plan and acquire water to manage.

The pair has launched an information memorandum and is scouring the Perth market for potential investors to get the AusGanics start-up off the ground.

Mr Satterthwaite said the company could be making millions of dollars in five years time if they secured the financial backing to set up its facilities.

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