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Oceanus invests in deep-tech firm to breed prawns

OCEANUS Group has invested an undisclosed amount in Universal Aquaculture, a newly formed deep-tech company with an indoor farming facility.

Through this investment, Oceanus will focus on breeding vannamei prawns, said the seafood and fast-moving consumer goods value-chain manager in a regulatory update on Saturday.

It added that the investment is in line with the group's strategies to drive business growth by further strengthening its aquaculture pillar.

Universal Aquaculture's indoor farming facility has a hybrid biological recirculation system, which fuses mechanical and biological filtration to produce the "best water quality possible" for aquaculture, Oceanus said.

A traditional recirculation aquaculture system uses more mechanical filtration that consumes more power while a pure biological system relies mainly on biological filtration with minimal mechanical filtration.

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As a reinvention using important components from both systems, Universal Aquaculture's hybrid system consumes much less energy, facilitates a zero-water change and a significant reduction of the feed conversion ratio, Oceanus noted.

The deep-tech firm's core team, led by founder Jeremy Ong, took six years of research and development to develop its technology.

Oceanus chief executive Peter Koh said Universal Aquaculture's system is the next generation in aquaculture water treatment, reducing the need for large water treatment tanks and equipment. This saves space, energy and water consumption while creating the "perfect water conditions" for breeding within a shorter period of harvesting time, Mr Koh added.

He noted that the coronavirus situation has underscored the importance of local food production as part of Singapore's strategies to ensure food security and self-sufficiency.

"We are optimistic that this breakthrough in technology for prawn breeding in a vertical farming environment, where aquaculture could take place within warehouses, will play an important role in sustainable urban food production," Mr Koh said.

Shares of watch-listed Oceanus were trading flat at 0.7 Singapore cent as at 9.09am on Monday.

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