Aquaculture

An extra billion consumers globally are expected by 2030, needing an estimated additional 25 million tonnes of seafood. With limited room for expansion in the commercial fishing sector (wild-catch) most of the additional supply will have to come from aquaculture.

Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing primary industry sectors and continues to be an important part of Australian fisheries production. The gross value of aquaculture production increased by 5 per cent in 2017–18 to $1.42 billion and accounted for 44 per cent of the gross value of Australian fisheries production.

 

A place for innovation

The aquaculture sector often features innovative companies, with larger enterprises processing, packaging and branding their own produce.

Increased consumer demand for Australian-produced seafood is driving industry growth and creating opportunities to integrate production from the 'hatchery' through to consumers. Aquaculture is on course to be the major provider of Australian seafood.

To ensure that aquaculture continues to develop in a sustainable manner, we need significant investments to secure appropriate land and water resources, improve production technologies, supply chain development, value-added products, marketing and promotion, and people development.

Australian aquaculture is capitalising on progress in slective breeding and disease management, and from associated technological advances that can increase yield while reducing environmental impact. Improved aquaculture production and management techniques have the potential to 'grow' seafood with the smallest use of environmental resources of any primary production sector.

 

Future challenges

Of major consideration for Australian aquaculture is its ability to make its end product affordable and economical, both domestically and internationally. The cost of production can be relatively high in Australia compared to other countries. Advanced techniques and technologies have the potential to reduce how much it costs to make seafood produced by Australian aquaculture increasingly more competitive for consumers.

As with all farming, aquatic animal health remains a challenge for this sector, with disease outbreaks continuing to be a major risk and there is a need for further research on biosecurity preparedness, disease diagnostic capability, surveillance and treatment.

A major impediment to the increase of aquaculture is access to suitable production areas (both land and water). This is mostly a concern in coastal regions. Further research is needed to understand and evaluate aquaculture systems that make more efficient use of available sites, increase land based production and allow production in off-shore waters.

Certification processes are being used in aquaculture to promote environmental and production credentials, and build consumer and societal trust. Those in aquaculture believe that achieving such credentials will improve public perceptions of this sector.

Aquaculture is viewed as an industry growth opportunity for North Australia. A CRC for North Australia funded project 'Aquaculture opportunities in Northern Australia: Solutions and Strategies' identifies key challenges and opportunities facing the North Australian aquaculture sector and explores potential solutions and priorities for future research.

 

Sector Statistics (2017-18)

  • Gross production value of $1.42 billion
  • Gross production volume of 97,672 tonnes
  • Sector accounts for 44 per cent gross fisheries production value and 36 per cent gross fisheries production volume.
  • Salmonids production accounted for 60 per cent of the total value of Australian aquaculture production.

 

For more information on Australian aquaculture statistics see the Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics 2018.