The Tasmanian salmon farming industry has undergone exceptional production and profitability gains in its short history and has ambitious targets for the future. A report commissioned in 2015 indicated an annual Industry gross output of $1.12 billion and the direct employment of almost 2800 full time positions. Projecting forward, the Industry is confident of turning over $2 billion by 2030, with clear implications for continued jobs growth and economic impacts within Tasmania. To achieve this, and to strengthen linkages with Government, the Tasmanian community and myriad stakeholders, ongoing proactive and reactive research is vital. This point is particularly salient given the present need to diversify the research portfolio to address potential constraints to industry growth. For example, spatial limitations on the expansion of grow-out operations in sheltered waters have resulted in new research and development approaches to investigate and trial offshore farming operations. Expanding the scope of the research and development program in such a manner is replete with complexities requiring significant input and coordination by the TSGA.
The portfolio of research funded between the FRDC and TSGA is significant, with around $4m of combined funding available each year – an amount steadily growing as Industry GVP grows. There is a need for both the FRDC and TSGA to have the capacity to actively manage this research portfolio, understand the current and future opportunities requiring research, development and extension (RD&E), and to communicate outputs to all stakeholders. Previously, these tasks were largely undertaken by the former TSGA CEO and, at times consultants were hired on an ad hoc basis. Given industry expansion however, there is a pressing need for a permanent role dedicated to addressing and coordinating the management needs of a RD&E portfolio that is growing in size, scope and complexity.