ASBTIA: Investigation of causes of mortalities in farmed SBT – variation to project 2008/228

Project Number:



University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Principal Investigator:

Barbara Nowak

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:





The SBT industry in Australia is limited by catch quota. Increased competitiveness and product quality through production efficiency are the main ways to improve the value of the industry. Improved performance can be achieved through reduction of mortalities and optimising production. These issues will also be crucial for longer term holding, when the initial size of tuna will be smaller and the fish will be farmed for a longer time, increasing health risks to the tuna. Since 2002 there has been a significant fall in revenue (prices down over 50% and strengthening of the Australian dollar). The worsening financial parameters, combined with the intrinsic high ‘value’ of each fish, have placed a greater focus on all aspects of the industry and particularly stress impacts limiting production. Mortality is an obvious area and the current, increased level is not acceptable. While FRDC project 2008/228 will investigate SBT parasites and their impact on farmed SBT, it will not include a broad approach to investigation of causes of SBT mortalities. There is an urgent need for the identification of the causes of SBT mortalities.


1. 1. To investigate causes of mortalities of farmed SBT in 2009, in particular 6-12 weeks mortalities

2. 2. To suggest preventative measures and/or further research to reduce mortalities in the future