Project number: 2016-200.30
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $2,642,603.00
Principal Investigator: David A. Stone
Organisation: SARDI Food Safety and Innovation
Project start/end date: 30 Jun 2015 - 29 Jun 2018


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. NUTRITION: Greater understanding of the conditional dietary requirements for fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and cholesterol in large YTK at summer water temperatures
2. NUTRITION: Improved utilisation of land animal protein to reduce fish meal content in production diets for large YTK during winter
3. NUTRITION: Improved knowledge of the effects of emulsifiers on lipid digestibility and gut health in large YTK at winter water temperatures
4. NUTRITION: Greater knowledge of alternative high n-3 vegetable oils for large YTK at winter water temperatures
5. FEEDING STRATEGIES: Optimise winter feeding strategies for large market size YTK
6. FEEDING STRATEGIES: Understanding the effect of variable oxygen levels in tanks on feed utilisation of large YTK at summer water temperatures
7. HEALTH: Develop and validate a challenge model suitable for assessing health of YTK provided with different diets using different feeding strategies
8. HEALTH: Examine, understand and improve gastrointestinal function and health to enhance YTK performance
9. EXTENDING YTK CAPABILITY: Build the capability of industry and its service providers through increased awareness, education & training

Final report

ISBN: 9781876007171
Authors: David Stone Mark Booth and Steven Clarke
Final Report • 20.50 MB


This project focused on growing the key existing Australian Yellowtail Kingfish (YTK) industry participants, as well as the industry as a whole, and directly addressed FRDC's strategic plan to build Australian sustainable aquaculture development through the activities of the new 'New and Emerging Aquaculture Opportunities' (NEAO) Subprogram. The project built on earlier R&D on YTK undertaken through the FRDC and the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (ASCRC) to delivers outcomes specifically for the industry partners of this project, and also provide benefits to the broader finfish aquaculture industry, particularly the sectors targeting the production of 'white' fish (e.g. Barramundi and Cobia).
This project covers research conducted by the South Australian research and Development Institute (SARDI) as part of the collaborative R&D for Profit "kingfish for profit (K4P)" project including industry and research partners. Within this project SARDI conducted the following activities:
1. Project Initiation and Management 
2. Identify economically sustainable feeds and improve diet formulation (Nutrition)
3. Improve feeding strategies to increase profit (Feeding Strategies)
4. Improve nutritional health to boost productivity (Health)
5. Extension and capability building
Outputs of research activities conducted by SARDI are reported within the final report that includes outputs from all research conducted through the RnD4Profit funded project "Growing a profitable, innovative and collaborative Australian yellowtail kingfish aquaculture industry: Bringing white fish to the market".

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