The Australian producer behind plans for the world's biggest land-based shrimp farm has hired a new commercial director to the venture to help drive funding.
Seafarms Group appointed Peter Fraser to the role of commercial director, Project Sea Dragon.
For the past 14 years, Fraser has been the proprietor and managing director of Perth-based Ocean and Earth Seafoods, specializing in high-end seafood products.
He has also served as a consultant to various global enterprises and has been managing director of various seafood companies, including the publicly listed Marine Produce Australia, and led sales, marketing and strategy development at the National Prawn Company of Saudi Arabia.
An accountant by trade, Fraser was born in the UK and is a dual British-Australian citizen who lived and worked in Dubai for 14 years.
Fraser's primary role will be to drive the funding, commercial and operational development of Project Sea Dragon.
"Peter is ideally positioned to take on the role of Commercial Director having worked with Seafarms as its international business advisor since 2015," said Seafarms Chairman Ian Trahar.
"In that time Peter has been an invaluable advisor to the board and executive and has been instrumental in establishing the international market relationships and channels, most notably with Seafarms’ major export partners, Nissui and Primstar."
Seafarms's financials took an upward swing in the 12 months to June 30, but ongoing investment in its challenging Project Sea Dragon still left the producer sat heavily in the red.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for the group improved 81.5 percent to a reduced loss of AUD 15.6 million (€9.3 million/$10.1 million).
This aligned with investments in Project Sea Dragon, which came to AUD 26 million (€15.5 million/$16.8 million).
"While impacting on our short-term financial results, [the investments] are a cornerstone of our growth strategy that is the purpose of the organization, and which will yield long-term benefits for the organization," said CEO Rod Dyer in September.
Project Sea Dragon, the huge Nissui-backed shrimp farm being built by Seafarms in the remote Northern Territories of Australia, completed its review and continues to fund and maintain all its licences and obligations to ensure approvals, real estate and key personnel are in place to develop the project.
On June 14 the company advised it intended to re-engage with potential funders and the first of those meetings occurred on June 21, according to Dyer.
"Arrangements for meetings with other funders are well advanced," he said in September, although no news has been released since.
Project Sea Dragon is a staged development of up to 10,000 hectares of shrimp production ponds, supported by a series of geographically separate facilities across northern Australia.