In the future WILL all the fish we eat be farmed?
Here is some info on where Australian aquaculture is right now:
Training course for aquaculturists
A modular training course on environmental, safety and quality management – approved for FarmBis subsidy – with outcomes ranging from certification to international standards, to providing for businesses to implement introductory environmental, safety and quality systems has been produced by Jean Cannon, a marine biologist with wide experience in aquaculture. For more info go to enviroaction.com.au.
Some states are attemtping to increase abalone production abalone production by fostering abalone culture industries and several companies have produced abalone from growout systems in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Growers rely on formulated artificial feeds, since some seaweeds used widely overseas have proven unsuitable for the Australian abalone species being cultured and large scale harvesting of seaweeds is usually discouraged by state governments.
Native abalone is under threat from poaching and aquaculture is seen as a way of preserving numbers so the first land-based abalone farm in NSW has been approved by the Great Lakes Council on the state’s mid-north coast.
However local conservation groups fear the development could pollute coastal waters and destroy seagrass beds. Graham Housefield from Australian Bounty Seafoods says he has done everything he can to deal with the concerns.
“I guess what it really comes down to is that the farm needs to have a pristine area because we need water that’s as clean as possible and therefore we can’t afford to do anything to harm the water from that area,” he said. “These animals are absolutely and totally reliant on having clean water.”
There are 18 aquaculture farms in other parts of Australia.
41 degrees south Salmon Farm & EcoExperience in Deloraine, Tasmania, allows visitors to experience a working inland fish farm using environmentally sustainable practices and located in natural, undisturbed bush land. Self guided walks and wanders along the banks of the Western Rivulet through diverse vegetation from wetland grasses to woodland areas.
First commercial sale of Murray Cod – Condabilla Fish Farm
Southwest of Chinchilla on the edge of the Darling Downs, Condabilla fish farm is the largest inland aquaculture license in Queensland. The Bartlett family, as a grower of Queensland silver perch, Murray cod and golden perch table fish, supplies markets in Australian capital cities and is also investigating re-establishing an export program into Asia.
Murray cod were first stocked two and a half years ago and with the first commercial sale Condabilla’s product is regarded as a market leader. Operations began in November 2001 with one 3.3 hectare pond stocked with silver and golden perch. Now a second 5.5 ha pond is ready and stocked. Silver perch are gaining 4.5 gm daily in the second pond while those in pond one gain 2.4 gm.
The new pond was designed following experiments with the smaller pond. It has ‘para grass‘ growing on its banks to help remove ammonia nutrient from the water. The pasture is harvested and used as cattle feed.
Bringing back Snowy River Blackfish
The Delegate River is the one tributary of the Snowy River where blackfish can be found. Human intervention such as the Snowy River project, the effects of agriculture, weeds, feral and exotic fish have all helped deplete the native blackfish population.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries, the Premier’s Department and Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority have combined to breed the blackfish and determine what they need to survive. Their habitat will be repaired and the fish will be released into parts of the Snowy where they are no longer found. At the same time there is a survey of native fish in the Snowy catchment.
A new fish Farm at Coonar south of Bundaberg
In a few months, John Loeskow, who has always wanted to run a fish farm, will start operations with four ponds, and with another five in around 18 months following the first harvest. He will work initially with barramundi and silver perch. Stage 1 of the farm is expected to cost $100,000.
The new business Blue Ridge Marron in Manjimup WA has stocks of marron available for those wanting to ‘grow the animals out’ in farm dams. Prices vary according to quantity and time of year, with savings possible on joint shipments to a given area. Transport can be aranged for just about anywhere in WA and Blue Ridge Marron staff can advise on suitability of marron for dams.
Marron are crayfish native to WA and has been a very successful aquaculture species. Growing to a massive overall length of 40 centimetres, unlike the ‘usual’ yabbies, they do not burrow. When conditions are poor they simply go cross country. This is one of the reasons that they have been banned from the eastern states of Australia. The east coast has a fairly viable ‘Yabby’ industry and these ‘crays’ could become a problem. They have been farmed on Kangaroo Island off South Australia and they have now taken over many of the streams. They are also reportedly been sighted in a water storage on the Mornington Penninsula in Victoria.
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An application for native fish production in Mallala SA
Omega Fish Products is planning a research and development project to grow out native fish species.
A resilient breed of Tassie oyster will be tried in NSW on the Hawkesbury where the oyster industry was destroyed in 2004 by the disease QX. Farmers say that it could take six years before it’s known whether this particular oyster can withstand the disease.
Tathra Oysters, a business operated by the Rodely family, won one gold and two silver medals at Sydney’s Royal Easter Fine Food Show. The Rodelys plan to use their $10,000 prize money on additional infrastructure for their Nelson Lake business. They are proud to be an environmentally friendly enterprise – the only waste produced is oyster shells and these are used to help repair local roads.
Port Lincoln’s mussel industry is now ten years old. SA farms , predominately off Port Lincoln produce some 400 tonnes annually. The target is to increase this to 1000-1500 tonnes. Around ten farmers are involved. The most recent Economic Impact Report shows that the SA mussel aquaculture industry produced 254 tonnes in 2002-03, valued at $466,000. Annual Australian production is 4000 tonnes.
The Pacific oyster industry is the second largest aquaculture industry in SA, following tuna production. In 2002-03 3.5 million dozen oysters were produced, valued at more than $14.1 million. The 2002-03 Economic Impact Report indicates a value of $16.1 million for the industry with a flow-on benefit to the economy of more than $33 million.
Are YOU involved in or interested in fish farming?