French luxury brand Hermès will build Australia’s largest marine crocodile farm to harvest their skin and meat. This will increase the number of farmed crocodiles in Australia’s Northern Territory by 50,000, a 50% increase from their current number, ABC reported on November 10.
Documents detailing the plans for this state-of-the-art crocodile farm refer to breeding facilities including an egg incubation lab, hatchery, growth pen, “finishing” pen, open farm area, as well as refrigerated food preparation and storage areas. About thirty people will be employed there and its development will cost around 40 million dollars.
Ten years after the purchase of a first farm, still in the same region, Hermès is therefore betting on ever stronger demand with its new investment, the development costs of which would amount to 40 million dollars. Louis Vuitton also followed in Hermès’ footsteps, the two luxury brands would thus own the majority of crocodile farms in this region.
Australia is the world leader in the marine crocodile trade, and the Northern Territory is the country’s largest producer. More than 24,600 crocodile skins were exported from the state in 2019, an industry worth $ 107 million. Hermès bought its first farm there ten years ago, triggering a domino effect which prompted Louis Vuitton to also embark on the construction of its own crocodile farms so that “Hermès does not own the entire Australian market”.
Hermès has been controversial in the past because it has been criticized for using “unethical” methods to harvest crocodile and alligator skins. The brand did not deny the allegations, but called the incident an “isolated irregularity.” In 2020, Hermès set the record for the price spent on a handbag at an auction where a Birkin bag in white Himalayan niloticus crocodile sold for over $ 300,000.