Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii) aquaculture is a new and developing industry in inland Australia which features efficient and profitable use of natural resources (water and fish) in regional Victoria, NSW and Queensland. Farmed Murray cod is a premium product in domestic markets and small quantities are being sold in markets overseas. In north western Victoria the industry is centred around existing horticulture enterprises and aims to add value to large water holdings by applying multiple use to this precious resource. Culture of Murray cod in agricultural dams has enormous potential.
Pathogens affecting Murray cod and silver perch have been previously documented (see attached). However the incidence of disease outbreaks relative to major events in the fish life cycle and horticultural water supply practices in integrated farming systems has not been addressed. Farmers without easy access to pathology services and veterinary professionals need to develop skills in basic gross pathology and interpretation of wet preparations. This project aims to equip isolated farmers with these skills and also to document temporally when major disease outbreaks are likely to occur, what the most likely cause is and how the effect of these events can be mitigated.
Further development of fish culture in horticultural enterprises requires some capacity to advise prospective farmers of the capital costs, suitability of their water holding and other features that would affect potential profitability. Combined with data from other work it is planned that a model will be developed that can guide farmer decision making on the feasibility of embarking upon aquaculture within their horticultural enterprise.
This project relates to R&D plans 7.2.2, 7.2.4, 7.2.5 and 7.2.6. There are elements of disease control and mitigation, best practice plan development and training across the 3 parts of the proposal.