World's first commercially hatched lobster in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU - The world's first ever commercially hatched lobster successfully bred in Sabah.

The ground breaking milestone of the commercial breeding programme was shown to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman who visited the Integrated Lobster Aquaculture Park (iLAP) Mini Commercial Hatchery in Tuaran about 40kms from here.

Lobsters or Panulirus ornatus, commonly known as ornate spiny lobsters is being seen as a massive leap in Sabah's aquaculture technology that will brings Malaysia another step closer to the global market for lobsters that is valued at over USD4 billion a year.

"Only a handful of people in the world have the knowledge and technology to successfully culture the critical 11 stages and undergo metamorphosis from larvae form to juvenile lobster," said Lobster Aqua Technologies Sdn Bhd president and chief executive officer Dr Shahridan Faiez Sunday.

"No one has ever successfully bred these large edible lobsters in captivity till now. Sabah, with its ideal natural tropical environment is now the landmark for this historic event.

"The waters have to be pristine to ensure successful breeding," he added.

The RM3bil (S$1.16 billion) and 15 year lobster aquaculture project is expected to create 20,000 high-income jobs by 2028.

The hatchery-based lobster juveniles are already deployed into sea-cages for the first time ever in Semporna.

"We are proud to have successfully localised this hatchery technology.

"This is how technology and talent come together and become a powerful catalyst for transformation.

Without state and Federal Government support, none of this would have been possible," Dr Shahridan said in a new release after the Prime Minister visited the hatchery.

The iLAP project is managed by Lobster Aqua Technologies Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Nanyang Nexus Sdn Bhd and state owned Yayasan Sabah's subsidiary, Inno Fisheries Sdn Bhd.

Nanyang Nexus Sdn Bhd is a company jointly owned by Ever Nexus Sdn Bhd and Darden Aquasciences Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of Fortune 500 company Darden Restaurants Inc).