YTK farming is identified nationally as the greatest opportunity for new aquaculture development in the next few decades through substantial increases in farmed area and product, and use of aquafeeds, resulting in growth in regional economies and employment. Within 10 years, YTK production is expected to increase by 34,000 tonnes, worth $440 million, and using 68,000 tonnes of aquafeed worth $136 million. The key challenge to achieving this growth is for industry to diversify its focus from supplying only the relatively small volume, high price sashimi market to the larger volume, lower price Australian ‘white fish’ market, while enhancing farm productivity and reducing operating costs to maintain profitability.
This project will enable industry to grow its position by developing more cost effective, sustainable feeds and feeding strategies to enhance YTK growth and health; the industry’s highest common R&D priorities as feed and feeding strategies comprise 60% of operating costs. It will also network three key Australian YTK aquaculture companies and their aligned research institutions (SA, NSW and WA). Aquafeed companies are also likely to participate. As such, this project will meet the designated ‘Rural Research & Development for Profit Programme’ objectives:
1. “Generating knowledge, technologies, products or processes that benefit primary producers",
2. “Establishing and fostering industry and research collaborations that form the basis for ongoing innovation and growth of Australian agriculture”.
The key Activities wil address the YTK industry's common R&D priorities through three components/themes:
1. Economically sustainable feeds and improved diet formulation (NUTRITION);
2. Improved FEEDING STRATEGIES to increase profit; and
3. Improving nutritional HEALTH to boost productivity.
Once the project is initiated the Steering Committee will develop an agreed approach to engage with aquafeed companies to maximise participation in and contribution to the project.
1. Project Initiation and Management
3. Improve feeding strategies to increase profit (Feeding Strategies)
4. Improve nutritional health to boost productivity (Health)
5. Extension and capability building