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Development Larval and Hatchery Production of Striped Trumpeter 

FRDC is a major investor in the Aquafin CRC and co-invest in many projects that meet both the organisations and industries needs.

FRDC/CRC Projects assessed in this Benefit Cost Analysis were:

  • Improving Growth and Survival of Cultured Marine Fish Larvae: Striped Trumpeter, Latris lineata, a Test Case for Tasmania (FRDC project number 2001/206).
  • Enhanced Hatchery Production of Striped Trumpeter, Latris lineata, in Tasmania through System Design, Microbial Control and Early Weaning (FRDC project number 2004/221).

Background

The principal marine finfish farming aquaculture industries in Australia are those of Atlantic Salmon, Southern Bluefin Tuna, and Barramundi. Only salmon and barramundi are raised from eggs and then in sea cages while tuna are raised in captivity after being caught in the wild.

Several other fledgling aquaculture finfish industries are also being developed. A major bottleneck found for many species is the rearing of larvae through to juvenile fish as mortality of the larvae has been quite common for a number of species; this problem has been linked to deficiencies or imbalances in lipid nutrition. Marine fish larvae were usually fed small invertebrates called rotifers and which are fed diets enriched in oils.

Earlier work on reproduction of striped trumpeter had already made significant progress, with brood stock caught, spawning in captivity realised and early larval protocols established. Fish had been weaned onto inert diets at 100 days of age and transformed into juveniles at 250 days when they developed stripes. Nevertheless, insufficient numbers had been produced to trial the fish in cage culture.

Objectives

The objectives for the projects were to look at both the specific technical issues from a husbandry point of view, for example, determine its optimal environmental parameters and water quality systems and tank design for reducing hatchery mortality and malformation in finfish larvae.

Through to the broader whole of life cycle issues such as evaluating formulated diets and their use in early weaning; determining baseline lipid, vitamin and amino acid composition of eggs and yolksac larvae from wild and captive striped trumpeter brood stock. As well the growth and survival of striped trumpeter post larvae and juveniles reared under semi–commercial conditions.

Benefits

The likely benefits are identified in a triple bottom line framework as follows:

Economic

  • Substantial progress towards a technically feasible striped trumpeter aquaculture industry in Australia.
  • Improved, systematic ways to control microbial communities and for the use of probiotics in improving hatchery survival.
  • Enhanced potential for diversification of Australian sea cage farming industry for marine species (currently based predominantly on Atlantic Salmon), particularly in Tasmania.
  • Enhanced potential for other aquaculture initiatives concerning marine species in Australia and elsewhere. For example, from the hatchery technology developed (e.g. ozone technology and water quality). The industries/potential industries that will benefit include those for Rock Lobster and Yellow Tail Kingfish.

Environmental

  • No environmental benefits are likely.

Social

  • Stripped Trumpeter do not have the same disease profile as such there is a reduced risk of social disruption to communities reliant on the Atlantic Salmon industry due to less disease outbreaks or other major setbacks.
  • Educational benefits from postgraduate training opportunities.

Adoption

The research investment has shifted the prospects of a striped trumpeter industry considerably through the current ability to conduct commercial scale trials in sea cages.

The next steps to address for an economically viable and sustainable striped trumpeter aquaculture industry to become a reality include:

  1. Technical feasibility of growing out in sea cages
  2. Economic viability of production in sea cages
  3. Definition of the target market and marketing strategy for the species

Attribution

The two research projects examined in this analysis were a significant investment into the commercialisation phase for Stripped Trumpeter. Therefore it is assumed that 80% of the benefits can be attributed to the projects.

Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries of the research are most likely to be Tasmanian aquaculture industry, as well as other finfish aquaculture producers. Australian society could benefit in the longer term due to diversification and expansion of the Australian aquaculture industry.

Conclusion

There has been a significant Australian investment ($7.5 million) in the development of a striped trumpeter industry over the past decade. While there are still some uncertainties involved, outstanding progress has been made in overcoming some of the technical constraints to a viable striped trumpeter aquaculture industry. Given the assumptions made, the investment in the research would appear to have been marginal with an expected rate of return of over 6%.

However, there have been significant spin offs to other Australian aquaculture industries particularly from the hatchery technology developed (e.g. ozone technology and water quality) which have not been valued in this analysis.