Project number: 2015-213
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $325,000.00
Principal Investigator: Stewart Fielder
Organisation: NSW Department Of Primary Industries
Project start/end date: 30 Dec 2015 - 30 Dec 2018


This application addresses the NSW FRAB and FRDC Subprogram Priority 2 INDUSTRY 25 – Developing Marine Finfish Aquaculture in NSW.

NSW imports approximately 85% of its seafood and needs a substantial increase in investment and production, most notably, new marine based aquaculture development is required. However, marine aquaculture development is fundamentally constrained by the lack of background biological and economic information. To develop marine finfish production, the NSW government has invested significantly in establishing a 20 ha Marine Aquaculture Research Lease (MARL) off Port Stephens with approval to produce up to 998 t fish/annum. Yellowtail Kingfish (YTK) is the primary species of interest. This interest in YTK is in part driven by a shortfall of Kingfish and Barramundi from aquaculture in local markets – of the order of 460 t at the Sydney Fish Market alone in 2013.

This project will complement the DoA project "Growing a profitable, innovative and collaborative Australian YTK aquaculture industry: bringing ‘white’ fish to the market - RnD4Profit-14-01-027". The end users are the Public, Regulators and Industry. Research will address short term needs to develop marine fish farming in eastern Australia and to provide a platform for ongoing research.

Industry need: YTK production within Australia has been challenging and further research is needed, particularly when entering new farming environments. It is essential to identify supply chains from broodstock to market. In particular, culture of the largest juveniles possible on land before transfer to seacages is essential to optimise survival and production. Land-based techniques need to be developed for viable production of advanced juvenile YTK.

Public need: Extensive public consultation identified key concerns with respect to the sustainable operation of the MARL. Keys concerns related to viable operation of marine fish farming and need to be investigated.

Regulatory need: There is a need for NSW DPI to develop a Marine Waters Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy for NSW (MWSAS) to streamline investment pathways and promote sustainable seafood production. Data from this project will be an essential component of the MWSAS.


1. to validate the feasibility of the PSFI hatchery to produce commercial quantities of YTK fingerlings
2. to determine the feasibility and logistics of large-scale, land-based systems for production of advanced juvenile YTK

Final report

ISBN: 978-1-76058-367-5
Authors: D. Stewart Fielder W. O’Connor and Mark A. Booth
Final Report • 2020-06-01 • 1.96 MB


NSW DPI conducted a series of experiments and commercial-scale production to investigate the viability of producing advanced juvenile yellowtail kingfish (YTK, Seriola lalandi) at the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute (PSFI) during March 2016 - December 2018. There is a significant shortfall of white-flesh fish at the Sydney fish market and NSW DPI has been doing research for approximately 10 years to develop technology for aquaculture of YTK in NSW. The reliable production of advanced juvenile YTK is a fundamental requirement to enable development of a viable farming industry for this species. To advance this objective, the suitability of intensive, land-based flow-through systems, recirculating aquaculture systems and outdoor raceways for production of advanced YTK were tested in NSW conditions.

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