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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

11/06/14: Captains of Australian aquaculture tell it as they see it

Australia’s best aquaculture researchers and industry leaders are being showcased at the World Aquaculture Conference in Adelaide this week. Five of Australia’s top aquaculture captains came together to present how they see aquaculture in Australia at present, and the challenges fish farming will face in the future.

Peter Dundas Smith, Chair of the session and of the Seafood Cooperative Research Centre, opened proceedings stating that “Australian aquaculture has increased eight fold in production and value over the last quarter of a century. This has been driven by research and development, successes and failures, and above all, persistence and patience by some industry leaders”.

Five captains of industry were on hand to give an insight into how this impressive growth has been achieved and how it can benefit Australian aquaculture.

Professor Mehdi Doroudi, Executive Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture at the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions, highlighted the importance of maintaining and supporting the industry’s growth, given aquaculture’s significant and positive impact on regional economies and communities. In South Australia, for example, 81% of the industry’s regional workforce is employed in Eyre Peninsula alone.

Frances Bender, Director of the Huon Aquaculture Group said “The Australian aquaculture industry is well placed to accept the challenge of contributing to feeding 9 billion people. Our industry may be small in global terms, but our ability to innovate positions us at the forefront of future aquaculture developments.”

Dr Nigel Preston, Acting Flagship Director CSIRO Food Futures Flagship says Australia has successfully combined game-changing research with high performing aquaculture sectors.

Looking to the future, this will help us unlock the huge potential for sustainable expansion of the Australian aquaculture industry.  He outlined how aquaculture research has helped create some of the major aquaculture industries in Australia and helped underpin most of the rest.

Dr Geoff Allan, Executive Director, Fisheries New South Wales agreed, highlighting that “the focus of research has shifted from researcher-led projects, usually based on developing hatchery and husbandry technology for individual species, to larger programs usually involving partnerships between researchers and industry.” 

“While this evolution was gradual and reflected the growing global knowledge base for fish farming, the aquaculture industry action plan in 2000 can be seen as a turning point when industry more clearly articulated a set of developmental priorities and worked more closely with researchers. 

"R&D for aquaculture in Australia has progressed to become a series of collaborative research partnerships between industry and research agencies.  This positive development has contributed to better outcomes.  Further advances in improving effectiveness of the research investment are needed to meet increasing demand for aquaculture products”, said Dr Allan.

Dr Craig Foster, Chief Executive Officer of Cleanseas Tuna, has seen a few things. Having been closely involved with many species but in particular Yellowtail Kingfish, Mulloway and both the propagation and ranching of Southern Bluefin Tuna.

He led participants on a journey, of ups and downs, twists and turns to establish a new species. He outlined the three key risks for companies are people, entering new regions and developing new species.

Dr Craig Foster’s advice for companies thinking of venturing into new territory is simple “before proceeding, consider how to reduce risks in your business when growing a new species.”

 The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the magazine International Aquafeed which is published by Perendale Publishers Ltd.

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