There is a need to investigate alternative commercial aquaculture opportunities for prawn farms exposed to the risk of WSSV. A study tour of other Cobia and Giant Grouper farming countries is required to investigate possible alternative farming techniques for these two species. Both of these species are currently farmed in various tropical regions of South East Asia. Giant Grouper are grown in ponds, cages and indoor recirculating systems while the Cobia are farmed in cages in Taiwan and Japan. Farming techniques already available and new methods sourced from the study tour of South East Asia will need to be trialled in the sub tropical environment of South East Queensland for both species. Due to seasonal conditions there is a need to confirm performance of Cobia and Grouper in onshore systems during Winter to allow assessment of potential for growth to market size and in outdoor ponds during summer when this is allowed by government.
Project number: 2017-103
Budget expenditure: $158,000.00
Principal Investigator: Brad Cherrie
Organisation: Rocky Point Aquaculture Company Pty Ltd
Project start/end date: 19 Sep 2017 - 29 Jun 2018
1. Study tour of South East Asia to determine alternative farming methods for Cobia and Giant Grouper and investigate optimum market parameters.
2. Determine which method of grow out culture, indoor, pond or cage culture produces the optimum fish for the market.
Authors: Brad Cherrie Serena Zipf Richard Knuckey Peter Lee Trevor Borchert David Nixon
Final Report • 2020-07-01 • 5.31 MB
In 2016/17, the Rocky Point Prawn Farm, along with other farms in the Logan River region of south-east Queensland, was severely affected by a white spot disease outbreak caused by the exotic white spot syndrome virus (WSSV). Measures enforced to eradicate WSSV resulted in a complete loss of stock and a ban on prawn production within the Logan River and wider Moreton Bay area until May 2018. As a result, Rocky Point Prawn Farms (RPPF) elected to investigate the feasibility of finfish aquaculture as an alternative to prawn farming. The current project was undertaken to assess the potential of two finfish species, Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) and Giant Grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus) as alternative aquaculture candidates for the Rocky Point Prawn Farm and potentially other aquaculture enterprises. The study was developed and led by RPPF with assistance from The Company One (TCO) and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), with staff from the Bribie Island Research Centre (BIRC) and ran from March 2017 until June 2018. In the study, the commercial performance of each species was assessed when cultured in both indoor tank systems and outdoors in cages. Culture facilities at two of RPPF’s production sites included a former prawn hatchery building which housed the indoor tank-based production, and an outdoor landlocked saline lake which contained cages. Cobia fingerlings were produced at BIRC and Giant Grouper fingerlings were supplied by TCO hatchery in Cairns. All fingerlings were initially grown in indoor tanks under controlled temperature conditions and later some were transferred to outdoor cages to assess their performance in both winter and spring/summer. Fish were fed once or twice per day and water quality data was collected daily. Weight and health checks were conducted monthly and any mortalities were removed from tanks or cages daily. The data were used to calculate key production parameters of feed conversion ratio, growth rate and survival throughout the production cycle. Both species were grown to harvest and sold into the domestic market. The production and market information generated by this project provided a framework to evaluate the relative costs and benefits of the two species within the range of production methods and strategies available to RPPF, and guidance towards future investment and optimising production in the future.