ADB Invests in Ocean-Based Aquaculture in Viet Nam
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Australis Holdings, Inc. signed a $15-million convertible note to promote climate-resilient, ocean-based barramundi and seaweed aquaculture in Viet Nam.
The investment will fund working capital to expand Australis’ operations at Van Phong Bay in central Viet Nam and support the development of a second regional production hub in southern Viet Nam. An additional $3-million grant will be provided by the Climate Innovation and Development Fund (CIDF), administered by ADB.
“Three billion people across the world depend on seafood for protein, even as global fish stocks fall due to overfishing and temperature rise,” said ADB Director General for Private Sector Operations Suzanne Gaboury. “ADB’s assistance will support the government’s efforts to develop sustainable aquaculture, particularly large-scale farming of high-value species for export. Aquaculture can support low-carbon protein production, while tropical ocean farming is more resilient to climate risks. This is our first aquaculture equity investment in Viet Nam, and we are proud to partner with Australis.”
Australis is the world’s largest barramundi producer. Also known as Asian sea bass, the species is adaptable and resilient, well suited to aquaculture, with high export value. Australis pioneered the development of modern, large-scale marine aquaculture in Viet Nam.
“ADB’s financing will support the continued growth of our operations in central Viet Nam as well as the development of a large new regional production hub where we’ve established a group of leases that will allow us to achieve 50,000 tons of annual barramundi production,” says Australis Chief Executive Officer Josh Goldman.
The CIDF grant to Australis’ subsidiary Greener Grazing LLC will support research and development into the cultivation of asparagopsis taxiformis seaweed for commercial ocean farming. This species of seaweed has been demonstrated to significantly reduce enteric methane emissions when included in cattle feed. Seaweed farms can mitigate ocean acidification and enhance climate resilience of marine ecosystems and have carbon sequestration potential.
Launched in September 2021, CIDF is a blended finance facility managed by ADB, established with an initial $25 million philanthropic commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Goldman Sachs. The fund has the potential to unlock up to $500 million in private sector and governmental investments in support of sustainable low-carbon economic development.
Established in 2006, Australis is vertically integrated with operations encompassing breeding, hatcheries, ocean farms, processing, packaging, and export. Australis’ consumer-facing brand The Better Fish® focuses on quality, sustainability, and ease of use.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
This article was first published by ADB on 30 June 2023.