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Kinabalu Lestari girds for Malaysia’s first barramundi RAS harvest

October 13, 2023  By  Nestor Arellano

Barramundi (Image: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Mitch_Ames.)

Kinabalu Lestari, a firm billed as Malaysia’s first commercial-scale recirculating aquaculture (RAS) company, is just months away from its first harvest of barramundi.

The company operates a RAS facility on a 35-acre land in the town of Kota Marudu, in Sabah, Malaysia. The facility has the potential to produce 1,000 to 1,500 tons of barramundi. Also known as sea bass, barramundi is prized for its tasty white meat.

The first stocking of 6,000 fish fry was done in June 2023, according to the Malaysian newspaper, Daily Express. The fish have so far grown to seven inches in length and are ready for harvest in December, the publication reported.


The RAS used by Kinabalu Lestari was locally designed and manufactured in Sabah, according to Irwin Wong, manager of Kinabalu Lestari.

He said that RAS has helped his company avoid risks climate change, pollution and algal blooms.

For example in Penang, thousands of fish died in September because of a sudden bloom of pink algae.

“So by having this system, it takes the uncertainty out of aquaculture, we aim to make aquaculture risk-free, we want to encourage entrepreneurs who are interested in aquaculture systems to take a serious look at RAS and this system,” said Wong.

Another benefit of RAS is that it does no consume excessive water, according to Wong. “It means that we are just going to pump in the water once from the water source, in this case a tributary of a river, and then it will be recycled through the RAS system for aquaculture operations, replenishing only water lost to evaporation.”

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