Project number: 1999-330
Project Status:
Completed
Budget expenditure: $42,964.00
Principal Investigator: Clive Jones
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
Project start/end date: 11 Jul 1999 - 8 Apr 2003
Contact:
FRDC

Need

Attractiveness: World eel production is in the order of 150,000 tonnes per year, but demand is estimated at over 200,000 tonnes and increasing. Australia’s eel production has traditionally come from wild fisheries and extensive culture by way of stocking impoundments with elvers. This production has not exceeded 500 tonnes in any year, and there is little potential for any expansion from these sources. Aquacultured eel would however have immediate market potential. Recent studies (Ford and Roberts, 1996) have confirmed that longfin eels are highly regarded by both Asian and European consumers, and that attractive prices can be achieved. The proposed research will assist in increasing the supply of this valuable product.

From a benefit/cost perspective, the continuity of the longfin growout work now underway rates very highly. It will be significantly more cost-effective to continue the existing successful program rather than terminate it after 2 years, only to re-initiate it possibly 1 year later.

Feasibility: This project seeks to develop semi-intensive pond-based aquaculture of the longfin eel. This is particularly attractive as the feasibility is enhanced by advantageous characteristics of this species, relative to shortfin eels. The longfin eel has faster growth rate, is more abundant as glass eels, is adapted to the tropical / sub-tropical climate prevailing in northern Australia, and is therefore better suited to growout in outdoor ponds which are significantly less expensive to establish and operate than indoor tank facilities.

Feasibility is further enhanced by the track record of the PI who has comprehensive research experience with the aquaculture research and development of redclaw (FRDC 92/119). QDPI has excellent facilities to support the research, located in the tropics, and will subsidise the project directly with staff and operating resources.

Outcomes:
• generate biological information regarding growth rates and survival in relation to weaning, diets, grading and density
• identify health / disease problems and establish health monitoring protocols
• develop expertise in the investigators to equip them for further and more comprehensive research
• identify priority issues for further research
• evaluate the potential for developing a commercial eel aquaculture industry

Objectives

1. To assess the farmability of the longfin eel and define basic husbandry and health requirements for semi-intensive growout, with specific objectives as follows:
2. Determine suitable weaning practices
3. Develop optimal grading procedures
4. Assess the efficacy of existing commercial diets
5. Determine growth rate and survival in relation to density / biomass
6. Collect information on the parasites, pathogens and lesions of eels
7. Extend research results to industry

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