The drive to make seafood cheaper and more sustainable was what led former financial planner Shannon Lim to start OnHand Agrarian in 2011. The company turns out produce such as sea bass, grouper and corn at its floating seafood farm off Pulau Ubin and urban farm at Dempsey Hill.
“I want to get people to think more about getting their food from local and sustainable sources,” he says.
Lim’s farms currently produce 320kg of seafood a month, including prawns, mussels and clams, that are sold via monthly subscription boxes delivered to customers’ doorsteps. He aims to supply 15 percent of Singapore’s local seafood demand by 2027.
When it comes to cost-effective farm management, Lim believes it’s important to leverage the natural processes of the marine ecosystem: “I have a problem with the perception that high-tech is only defined by anything mechanical or electrical. Advancements in biology and genetics can also be groundbreaking and actually more value‐for‐money.”
He has reared over 2,000 edible and ornamental fish in his backyard using a closed-loop system that recycles waste from one organism as food for another. Now, he’s collaborating with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, a local statutory board, to develop Internet of things-enabled hyper-efficient systems similar to his backyard set-up, a new technology to count fish, and the world’s first pest-proof auto-feeding systems.
He has also launched Reefincarnate, which assimilates cremation ash on a molecular level into living coral that clients have picked before death, and is developing a 1-million-sqft floating island, comprising man‐made reef blocks that encase recycled bottles in concrete, for American marine biologist and explorer Sylvia Earle to do her research. These blocks will be constructed in Singapore and then “assembled” into an island in the Andaman Sea, forming the world’s first sovereign nature reserve.
Shannon wears the Panerai Submersible — 42mm (PAM00959)