To meet the projected seafood demand by 2030 Australian aquaculture needs to increase its rate of growth in both production and competitiveness (FRDC 2016). Extensive R&D efforts have been invested in more than 90 aquaculture species over the last five decades in Australia. Nonetheless, fewer than 10% of these species have reach recognized production in either tonnage or value. Presently, only Atlantic salmon, tiger prawn, barramundi and oysters are considered as major aquaculture species in Australia. This highlights the need to identify possible gaps in our research and extension activities, and the barriers to successful commercialization of new aquaculture species.
Importantly, research interest alone is unlikely to be sufficient to drive aquaculture production of targeted species. The observed limited production or lack of investment in new species may indicate differences in new species preferences among the relevant stakeholders, i.e. scientists, consumers, traders, investors, producers, policy makers and regulators. These differing perspectives should therefore be analysed to provide a better understanding of the conditions required for successful development of a new aquaculture species.
The project proposed here - “Auditing research effort on aquaculture species and industry adoption for production growth” - is consistent with national priorities and strategies of both FRDC and CSIRO. Under the FRDC’s Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Plan 2015-20, one of three national priorities is to develop new or emerging aquaculture growth opportunities with the aim of delivering RD&E to help promote the establishment of one or two species at commercial scale production. To address this priority the FRDC has established the New and Emerging Aquaculture Opportunities (NEAO) subprogram. Similarly, CSIRO Aquaculture has continuously emphasized the importance of delivering innovative impacts that transform aquaculture production in more-sustainable ways. This implies either removing identified barriers for current aquaculture species or investing in targeted strategic R&D on carefully-selected new species in collaboration with industrial partners.