Project number: 2002-250
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $543,784.00
Principal Investigator: Aravind Surapaneni
Organisation: Agriculture Victoria
Project start/end date: 30 Jan 2003 - 15 Sep 2007


Fisheries by-catch and processing wastes are principally organic in nature and therefore can be classified as “organic wastes”. Today there are three major forces operating, which are in effect beginning to control the movement of organic wastes. These are (a) the need for waste minimisation, (b) opportunity to utilise the high nutrient value in waste materials, and (c) increasing barriers for the disposal of waste products (especially those rich in organic content) in waterways or landfills
There are significant benefits to the seafood industry if these criteria can be met. The relevance to the processing industry and minimisation of off-site impacts should be of prime concern when considering the criteria listed above. Some targets to achieve these criteria are:
- Lowering volumes of waste streams leaving the processing industry
- Seeking lower cost disposal options
- Opting for profitable alternatives through value adding
- Increasing public acceptance through adoption of environmentally friendly practices

As well as the above, major benefits to the agricultural industry (especially the organic sector) can also be achieved from the availability of fisher waste-based fertilisers.

These fertilizers have potential use in both conventional and organic agriculture. However, the growing organic sector is of particular interest due to the relative lack of suitable organic fertilizers.

Organic production is a growing industry in Australia. The dearth of effective and tested, nutrient rich products that could be certified as "organic" is recognised within this industry. Provision of successful and a proven certified organic fertilizer has the potential to lift yields from organic farms, in turn encouraging greater adoption of organic farming. There is a strong belief that fish waste-based fertilizers could be designated as “organic”.

Although organic fertiliser products from fishery wastes have been available in the market for considerable time, long-term field evaluation of these products have been scarce. Such evaluation is essential to further extend the current market availability for fish-based fertiliser products. Effective extension of the organic market is only possible by capturing the broadacre organic production market.
Trials with fish-based fertilisers need to be first evaluated in a glasshouse, under controlled conditions to study the short- and long-term availability of nutrients on several soil types and plant crops. Armed with this information, field trials in selected high intensity horticultural production areas need to be conducted to work out appropriate rates and methods of application. Any trials conducted should be aimed at building confidence within the farming community so that a greater adoption rate is assured. Field trials need to be conducted on farmer properties so that tangible benefits from products tested are visually and financially convincing to both the conventional and organic farmer.

To demonstrate ongoing and long-term benefits from application of fish-based organic fertilisers for conventional and organic farming production, any field trial should be conducted over at least two cropping cycles. In addition, several types of products available in the market should be tested against commercially available, traditional inorganic and other organic (e.g. Dynamic Lifter) fertiliser sources.


1. Comparison of the agronomic effectiveness of BioPhos with superphosphate in tomato production.
2. Comparison of the agronomic effectiveness of BioPhos with superphosphate in the dryland pasture production.
3. Comparison of the agronomic effectiveness of BioPhos with superphosphate in the irrigated dairy industry.
4. Communication of the outcomes of the trials to agricultural industries.
5. Comparison of the agronomic effectiveness of Biophos with triple superphosphate in the irrigated dairy industry.
6. Semi quantification of water borne losses of soluble phosphorus in irrigation water for the two products.

Final report

ISBN: 978-1-74146-370-5
Author: Aravind Surapaneni

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