TUTONG – Aquaculture company Golden Corporation (GC) wants to double down on production of its blue shrimp as it sets its sights on the European Union and other new markets for next year.

In an interview with The Scoop, CEO Desmond Lim said that depending on the market demand, the company anticipates to export around 500 to one thousand tonnes to the union. He noted that they were given the approval to export to the EU last year. 

The company earns $30 million in annual revenue, however, with EU on the horizon, it is hoping to double the amount, directly contributing to the sultanate’s GDP.

Although GC already produces more than a thousand tonnes of blue shrimp annually, it still needs to expand its volume to accommodate new market demand.

“We have approximately 350 hectares of shrimp farm. The biggest site which is a 200-hectare site is under construction at the moment and once all sites are fully operational, we can produce approximately 4,500 tonnes of blue shrimp annually,” he said. 

GC’s flagship product —  blue shrimp — is exported to numerous countries including Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. However, the majority of its exports go to Australia, China, Taiwan among others. 

Australia is its biggest customer with over 65 per cent of their shrimp output going to the land down under. 

Blue shrimp sorted and processed at Golden Corporation’s processing facility in Serambangun. Photo: Courtesy of Golden Corporation.

The CEO explained that it was a challenge trying to penetrate the EU, as it took years for the company — with the help of the Fisheries Department — to attain the certifications required to export there. 

Touching on the global shrimp market, he explained that there are two types of shrimp that are dominating the global market: Pacific white shrimp and the black tiger prawn. 

“The world is huge, and there is still some parts of it that are unfamiliar with blue shrimp as well as Brunei”. 

Currently there are two countries in the world that commercially produces and exports blue shrimp — New Caledonia, a French territory comprising a group of islands in the South Pacific, and Brunei. 

“The upside with blue shrimp is that [aside from New Caledonia], we have no other competition in the market [however] the downside is that we had to play an important part in creating the market. 

“The initial years were difficult, because it was a product [blue shrimp] that no one really knew about. So we had to convince potential customers why they should buy our shrimp rather than the ones that are already in the market”. 

This prompted GC to employ a niche strategy by branding its main product as premium quality and natural blue shrimp, aiming for quality rather than quantity — a strategy that Lim said has proven to be effective.