AUSTRALIA – Port Lincoln fish farmer Cleanseas Tuna is ahead of schedule and expects to turn a maiden operating profit this financial year as production and sales of kingfish surge well ahead of schedule.
The strong performance raises confidence that Cleanseas will thrive as a kingfish farmer, despite the lack of commercial success by its southern bluefin tuna breeding programme, reports AdelaideNow.
Cleanseas Tuna chief executive Craig Foster said the company is very pleased to report that kingfish stocks and fish survival are well ahead of budgets and previous performance levels.
It has placed the company on target to reach its annual 1500 tonne production and sales target this financial year, rather than next year, as production surges by 40 per cent.
The success has helped Cleanseas increase its employment by eight people to 48 people in the past five months and it expects to employ another two people in the next six months.
Dr Foster said he expects a boost to kingfish sales during the Easter period when sales traditionally lift by 30 to 40 per cent because it’s a traditional fish eating time.
The company’s outlook has also been bolstered by the improved growth of its kingfish, leading to exceptional customer feedback including comments by chefs that the quality and tasting characteristics of the fish are the best they’ve ever been.
“They are a very versatile fish, great for sashimi, and I like them baked as fillets, but don’t overcook them,” Dr Foster said.
Another benefit of the improved growth rates is the kingfish are yielding an 8 per cent higher proportion of meat than in the past.
“This is a direct consequence of improved fish husbandry and feed and nutrient quality,” he said.
“The Cleanseas team continues to work diligently to deliver improved fish health and performance.”
The improved supply of its premium kingfish has led the company to start expanding its European sales network and returning to the Asian market, Dr Foster said.
“Despite the freight costs, price returns achieved in export markets equate to the domestic returns on kingfish.”
Dr Foster warned that the inherent operational risks involved aquaculture can impact on performance, but said the board remains confident of continuing progress.
“The company continues to prudently invest in upgrading our infrastructure to support the growth in biomass from the improved fish performance to meet our strategic production objectives,” he said.
“The company’s medium term target is to increase kingfish production to 3000 tonnes a year.”