Cell Aquaculture reports company's recent developments and progress
Hatchery and R & D
Hatchery progress throughout the year has been outstanding from the commercial/research and development operations, located at James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to Cell Aquaculture.
The James Cook University based operations continue to achieve a consistent reliable supply of high quality juvenile fish, whilst continuing an advanced program to optimise hatchery technology and operating methods. This program is now in its fifth year of operation, with Commercial and Research and Development objectives continuously evaluated. Today, this facility stands alone as being the leading joint Commercial/R & D Barramundi venture in Australia.
As a result of significant research and development over the last five years, output from the same hatchery footprint has increased by over 500%. Given the significant success of this program, R & D in this area still continues, with the ultimate goal to perfect this part of the aquaculture supply chain and be a world leader in hatchery supply. This goal is being met for Barramundi and other species are now under investigation.
Current R & D is focused on new species development, whilst more advanced work is underway for Barramundi in the areas of selective breeding and fingerling selection protocols, to further improve the quality of seed stock for commercial operations. This activity directly enhances productivity and profitability of the production ventures.
Grow -Out Production
During the year, CAQ has progressed a number of MOU's to develop grow-out production operations in Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa. The advancement of these projects has been hindered primarily by the lengthy lead-times and cumbersome processes of gaining all relevant approvals in the various regions.
This has been a source of great frustration and has stifled the company's ability to move forward at our desired pace.
As production commencement delays continued as a result of lengthy lead-times, the Board recently made the decision to take a pro-active approach and aim to source a suitable ‘lowcost' production location, with all relevant approvals in place, to enable the establishment of a Company owned, commercial scale grow-out production operation. This would enable CAQ to complete its vertically integrated ‘Hatch to Dispatch' business model on a true commercial scale and propel the Company towards profitability.
New Thailand Production Operations
In September, the Company formally secured an outstanding production site, with all relevant approvals in place, located in Phuket, Thailand. The production site has a superior quality water source as well as all necessary infrastructure and services in place.
The existing shed and tanks are currently being retro-fitted with proprietary ‘Cell' filtration components, which will significantly increase the potential production ‘yield' of the existing operation for Australian Barramundi and also enable accelerated commencement of production.
The securing of this outstanding production opportunity, in a ‘low-cost' operating environment, represents a key step forward for the Company. Having approvals in place and the ability to retro-fit an existing facility, accelerates production targets by up to 12 months.
Our first batches of Australian Barramundi fingerlings (baby fish) were successfully shipped to this new production venture in mid October 2010.
Following completion of the retro-fit of the existing facility, construction of a new purpose-built large-scale ‘Cell' production facility will commence immediately on the adjacent vacant land.
Thailand Expansion Potential
The newly sourced Thailand production site had an initial capacity of approximately 500 tonnes of premium finfish per annum, however we have recently managed to also obtain an option on the adjoining site, which will now see the project's capacity potentially increase to over 1,000 tonnes per annum.
Being a company owned project, we can now aggressively advance this venture at our desired pace.
The company is also continuing to actively progress our various MOU's in Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa, with a view to converting them into profitable production ventures in the near future.
Dispatch - Processing , Value -adding , Marketing , Branding and Distribution
CAQ recently established a wholly owned subsidiary ‘Cell Aqua Foods Pty Ltd' - a fully operational, food processing, valueadding, packaging and marketing division.
The Company acquired the assets, customer base and product range from an existing food processing business and established a new facility located in Osborne Park, Western Australia. The acquisition of an existing business and distribution network, including numerous supermarkets, restaurants and catering customers, offers instant cash flow from the operations, whilst providing a solid platform for the Company to further develop our product range and distribution network.
Cell Aquaculture has been fortunate to secure the services of a local award winning chef with over 15 years experience in food processing and new product development.
Via Cell Aqua Foods, they have now developed a unique range of Premium fresh, smoked and value added Barramundi products
- which are being actively and successfully marketed under the Eco-Star brand.
The first quarter of the 2011 financial year has been spent on rationalising and streamlining the Cell Aqua Foods business and will be followed by an aggressive growth strategy to expand the product range and distribution network - creating further domestic and export markets for the ‘Grow-out Production' opportunities outlined previously.
Where to Buy Cell Aqua 's Produce ?
The company is in the process of rolling out branded Eco-Star and ‘Providores Kitchen' product ranges in the local West Australian marketplace.
The products can be found in most IGA supermarkets, as well as the Progressive Supa IGA network and the Farmer Jack's and Food
Works networks. The company is also introducing its products into a range of Gourmet Delicatessens.