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Reflex Barramundi? Australian Paper considers move into aquaculture 

Australia’s only manufacturer of office paper – including its flagship Reflex brand – has partnered with the Victorian Government and Mainstream Aquaculture to conduct a $1.24 million study into the viability of constructing the world’s largest indoor aquaculture facility to farm barramundi near its Maryvale Mill in the Latrobe Valley.

Pejo sale water Barramundi farm in North QLD
A Mainstream Aquaculture Barramundi farm in North Queensland

Australian Paper, owned by Japan-based Nippon Paper Industries, says the facility could support around 500 jobs in the construction phase and almost 190 direct and indirect jobs ongoing, as well as supporting the development of a new barramundi processing industry in the Latrobe Valley.

“We are delighted to partner with Mainstream Aquaculture and the Victorian Government through the Latrobe Valley Authority, to explore the feasibility of a world class Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) close to our Maryvale site,” said Peter Williams, Australian Paper’s chief operating officer. “Australian Paper is committed to our mission of Sustainable Growth for the Next Generation. We are always open to opportunities to leverage our extensive infrastructure in new ways.”

Williams says the company’s existing infrastructure at Maryvale is “perfectly suited” to an aquaculture facility. “Our access to supplies of freshwater, and extra capacity for water heating and treatment, combined with the availability of land and logistics services, make the Latrobe Valley a natural location for these operations.

“Importantly, it is also an opportunity to look at ways we can help diversify the Latrobe Valley economy, encourage new and innovative businesses into the region and support new jobs,” he said.

Mainstream Aquaculture, located in Wyndham, VIC, is a producer and supplier of barramundi. The company operates the largest aquaculture facility of its type in the world and exports into 24 countries across 5 continents.

One of Mainstreams RAS Farm
  Inside one of Mainstream's RAS facilities

“We believe the business of fish farming demonstrates real social purpose and are committed to leading the way in feeding Australia with premium seafood, produced using class-leading aquaculture technology with best practice sustainability credentials,” said Boris Musa, managing director, Mainstream Aquaculture.

“We welcome the next steps in our relationship with Australian Paper, who share our values around the development of sustainable and socially responsible enterprise and look forward to making our concept for the largest single site barramundi farm in the world a reality.”

As part of the feasibility study, Mainstream Aquaculture and Australian Paper will conduct due diligence on the technical, commercial, social and environmental aspects of the project plus preliminary design and engineering, for the RAS plant. 

The study is expected to take 18 months and be finalised by mid-2020. If the study proves viability, construction could begin by late 2020.