Project number: 1999-319
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $138,238.00
Principal Investigator: Richard Musgrove
Organisation: SARDI Food Safety and Innovation
Project start/end date: 28 Jun 2000 - 27 May 2005


Development of urchin fisheries in Australia is currently limited by economic viability due to low recovery rates. This fishery has a large opportunity to expand given:
1. There is a large sea urchin resource
2. The high price urchin roe fetches
3. Low cost of fishing (relatively shallow water).

The opportunity to develop this fishery into a highly profitable one is dependent on the development of innovative solutions. This proposal examines the potential for enhancing recovery rates using supplementary feeding for short periods. If this can be done cost effectively it opens the opportunity to dramatically increase the profitability and size of this fishery. Without this technology the urchin fishery will not fully develop. With this technology the fishery has the potential to be worth tens of millions. This project has been initiated by support through both existing permit holders and Aquaculturists.


1. Determining the feasibility of postharvest enhancement of sea urchin, Heliocidaris erythrogramma, roe through the use of commercially available feeds.
2. Determine the environmental conditions (time and temperature) under which roe enhancement can be optimised.
3. Evaluate photoperiod manipulation of the gametogenic cycle as a method of increasing the availability of the highest quality roe.
4. Evaluate the best commercial growout options by assessing the technical and relative economic feasibility of both land based (eg. abalone) and in-water sub-tidal cage (eg. polyculture with Pacific Oysters).
5. Evaluate existing commercially available sea urchin diets (USA) and Australian abalone diets for their suitability and applicability to Heliocidaris erythrogramma and recommend directions for the refinement of diets specifically suited to sea urchins in Australia.
6. Determine future research needs for the industry.

Final report

ISBN: 073085311X
Author: Richard Musgrove

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