Project number: 1997-304
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $140,000.00
Principal Investigator: John Glaister
Organisation: NSW Department Of Primary Industries
Project start/end date: 28 Jun 1997 - 1 Feb 2000


Australia has limited wild fisheries compared to other countries, and many species are fully or over-exploited. In addition, we import about 116,000 tonnes of edible fish products valued at $600 million annually. There is clearly a need to dramatically increase aquaculture production in Australia to replace lost production from wild fisheries, to replace imports, and to export high-quality products into substantial lucrative markets in Asia.

Aquaculture is in its infancy in Australia and prior to the mid 1980s was limited to the production of oysters, rainbow trout, and juvenile native freshwater fish and goldfish. However, over the last decade there has been a significant increase in interest, research, management and investment. Industries based on Atlantic salmon, penaeid prawns, barramundi, tuna, freshwater crayfish, freshwater fish, eels, microalgae and other species have developed. In 1994/95, approximately 40,000 tonnes and 13.8 million juveniles were produced for a total value of $465 million.

Culture techniques for most species have been predominantly or partly developed overseas. While Australia's production and overall value has increased significantly, many enterprises have struggled or failed due to a range of reasons including; a lack of technology, poor selection of species and sites, poor understanding of aquatic husbandry, water quality and diseases, a lack of research and extension, a lack of quality control and marketing and financial difficulties resulting from the high establishment and operational costs characteristic of new industries. Some developments have foundered because of the negative perception that either the community or government agencies have had of aquaculture.


1. To provide financial support for the organisation of the World Aquaculture Society Conference, Tradeshow and Seafood Expo, Sydney 1999.

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