Japanese giant Nissui invests in Australian land-based seaweed startup

Immersion Group CEO Scott Elliott and Nissui Corporation Chief Executive Shingo Hamada. Image supplied.

Japanese seafood behemoth Nissui Corporation is investing in Australian land-based seaweed startup, Immersion Group to speed up the production of the local red seaweed Asparagopsis.

The Victoria-based company specialises in the cultivation of asparagopsis, a type of red seaweed that has been shown to reduce methane emissions from ruminants by inhibiting the growth of certain types of bacteria within the animals’ gut.

The funds from the investment will be used to build a new onshore Asparagopsis production facility close to Geelong in Victoria, which is anticipated to result in the creation of up to 30 new jobs, as announced in a press release.

The investment, according to Shingo Hamada, chief executive of Nissui Corporation, was a crucial step for the business to capitalise on the growing interest in Asparagopsis as a methane-reducing feed additive for ruminant livestock.

“We see an incredible opportunity to produce Asparagopsis, targeting premium beef markets in Australia and Japan,” Hamada stated. 

The Nissui official pointed out that with Immersion Group, the company will have the opportunity to create a global Asparagopsis brand that can serve markets all over the world using Nissui’s existing marketing and distribution channels.

To date, Japan-based Nissui Corporation revealed it was the second-largest seafood producer globally in 2022 based on revenues of $8 billion.

Meanwhile, Immersion Group CEO Scott Elliott stated that the Nissui investment will enable the company to rapidly scale its proprietary onshore production technique for Asparagopsis and expand into other geographies globally.

“There are 1 billion cattle in the world, and to have a cornerstone investor and strategic partner in Nissui puts us at the forefront of servicing this unheralded demand,” Elliott remarked.

Asparagopsis from the manufacturing plant will be used in trials in Australia and Japan. The proposed onshore plant will complement Immersion Group’s existing operations in

Immersion said it delivers its onshore work in partnership with the University of Western Australia and Deakin University.