Aqua97 Australian Aquaculture Industry profiles for selected species

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Aqua97 Australian Aquaculture Industry profiles for selected species

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Aqua97 Australian Aquaculture Industry profiles for selected species

  1. 1. Australian aquacultureIndustry profiles for selected species
  2. 2. Australian aquacultureIndustry profiles for selected species ABARE report to the Fisheries Resources Research Fund Debbie Brown Koenraad Van Landeghem Michael Schuele May 1997 e ABARE
  3. 3. AUSTRALZAN AQUACULTUREBrown, D., Van Landeghem, K. and Schuele, M. 1997, Australian Aqua-culture: Industry Projiles for Selected Species, ABARE, Canberra, May.Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsGPO Box 1563 Canberra 2601Telephone +61 6 272 2000 Facsimile +61 6 272 2001Internet www.abare.gov.auABARE is a professionally independent government economic research agency.AcknowledgmentsThis report was prepared in the Fisheries Economics Section of ABARE. The authors wishto acknowledge the helpful information and comments provided by colleagues in ABAREand various state government organisations. The inclusion of much of the information in thisreport has been made possible by the willing cooperation of many researchers and industryorganisations whore~absisuanccthe authors gratefully a~knowledgc.The au~hors3lso:tcknowled~e ~ ~ - ~- nrovidcd on earlier drafts bv Lcanne Holmcs and Maria Ow31inska- . . ~. comments- 0- Section of A B A ~and Glen Huny of the ~ G a c u l t u r e E ~ ~Mania of the Fisheries ~conomicsand Fisheries Branch of the Department of Primary Industries and Energy.ABARE project 1418
  4. 4. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREContents1. Introduction 12. Overview of the status of Australian aquaculture 23. Crustaceans Prawns Freshwater crayfish4. Molluscs 26 Pearl oysters Edible oysters Abalone Mussels5. Fish 50 Salmonids 50 Tuna 60 Silver perch 63 Barramundi 66 Other fish 70 Eels 73 Aquarium fish 766. Other species 79 Microalgae 79 Crocodiles 79AppendixA Australian aquaculture production, by state 83References 94 ... 111
  5. 5. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURETablesOverview1 Value of Australian aquaculture production2 Volume of Australian aquaculture production3 Value of Australian aquaculture production, by stateCrustaceans4 Number of commercial black tiger prawn farms5 Ponded area of black tiger prawn farms6 Australian black tiger prawn production7 Australian black tiger prawn hatchery sales8 Number and ponded area of commercial kuruma prawn farms9 Australian kuruma prawn production10 World production of kuruma and black tiger prawns11 Japanese imports of live prawns12 Number of yabby farms or permits13 Yabby growout production14 Number and ponded area of commercial redclaw farms15 Redclaw production16 Marron growout production17 Freshwater crayfish hatchery sales and valueMolluscs18 Number of pearl licences19 Value of Australian pearl production20 Australian pearl exports, by destination21 Number of Sydney rock oyster farms and area farmed22 Sydney rock oyster production23 Number of commercial Pacific oyster farms24 Pacific oyster production25 Other edible oysters production26 World oyster production, by species27 Australian oyster exports, by destination28 Hong Kong oyster imports29 Australian farmed abalone production30 Australian abalone exports3 1 Japanese abalone imports32 Number of mussel farms33 Farmed mussel production
  6. 6. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE34 Australian mussel exports, by product 4835 Australian mussel exports, by destination 48Fish36 Australian Atlantic salmon industry37 Australian exports of Atlantic salmon, by product38 Australian exports of Atlantic salmon, by destination39 Japanese imports of fresh Atlantic and Pacific salmon40 Taiwanese imports of chilled Atlantic and Pacific salmon41 World farmed salmon production42 Number of trout farms43 Trout production44 Australian trout exports, by product45 Australian trout exports, by destination46 Southern bluefin tuna fanning47 Japanese imports of southern bluefin tuna, by major supplier48 Commercial silver perch farming49 Silver perch production50 Number of commercial barramundi farms5 1 Farmed barramundi production52 Commercial production of freshwater fish53 Commercial freshwater fish hatchery production54 Australian eel exports, by product55 Australian eel exports, by destination56 Aquarium and ornamental fish production57 Australian exports of ornamental fish58 Australian exports of ornamental fish, by destination59 Australian imports of ornamental fishOther species60 Farmed crocodile outputAustralian production61 New South Wales aquaculture production 8362 Value of New South Wales aquaculture production 8463 Queensland aquaculture production 8564 Value of Queensland aquaculture production 8665 Western Australian aquaculture production 8766 Value of Western Australian aquaculture production 8867 South Australian aquaculture production 89
  7. 7. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE68 Value of South Australian aquaculture production 9069 Tasmanian aquaculture production 9170 Value of Tasmanian aquaculture production 9171 Victorian aquaculture production 9272 Value of Victorian aquaculture production 9373 Northern Territory aquaculture production and value 93
  8. 8. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE1. IntroductionAquaculture is a rapidly growing Australian industry. Over the five years to1995-96 the value of aquaculture production increased by 77 per cent, and itscontribution to the total value of Australian fisheries production increasedsteadily to around 25 per cent. It is a diverse industry, with operations spreadthroughout all states of Australia.Reflecting the fact that it is a rapidly growing and changing industry, withmany diverse parts and many small operators, published data on the charac-teristics of and trends in the industry are quite limited. Most of the availableinformation relates only to particular states or to particular species.However, detailed and comprehensive information is vital if the potentialcontribution of aquaculture to the Australian economy is to be maxirnised.Policy makers, those involved in the industry and potential investors all needinformation on characteristics, trends and issues facing the industry.The aim in this report is to fill some of the information gaps, by identifyingthe key features of the industry and main issues affecting the outlook for asmany species as possible. For each species covered, the report contains adiscussion of industry structure (location and number of permits, farms andhatcheries), farm and hatchery production, key markets and issues affectingthe outlook. In addition to the major species currently being farmed inAustralia there are a wide range of species and a large number of operatorsinvolved for which there are no published data.
  9. 9. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE2. Overview of the status of AustralianaquacultureThe estimated gross value of aquaculture production in Australia in 1995-96was $399 million (table I), compared with the value of Australian wild marinefisheries production of $1262 million (ABARE 1996).The pearl industry is Australias most valuable aquaculture industry, worth anestimated $131 million in 1995-96. (It should be noted that this estimate doesnot include the value of production from the Northern Territory, which isconfidential because of the small number of producers). The next mostvaluable industries include Atlantic salmon ($59 million), edible oysters ($52million), tuna ($40 million) and prawns ($35 million). In addition to thesemajor products, around thirty other species are currently farmed in Australia.Cultured fish production is dominated by Atlantic salmon, followed bysouthern bluefin tuna and trout. Prawns remain the dominant crustaceanfarmed in Australia while oysters are the major mollusc farmed (table 2).The species cultured vary widely across the states, mainly reflecting differentclimatic conditions. For example, Atlantic salmon is farmed only in temperatewaters, mainly in Tasmania and Victoria. Other species, such as crocodiles,are confined to tropical regions, such as Queensland, the Northern Territoryand the north of Western Australia. The main species cultured by each stateare: edible oysters in New South Wales; prawns and pearl oysters inQueensland; pearl oysters in Western Australia; southern bluefin tuna andedible oysters in South Australia; and Atlantic salmon and edible oysters inTasmania. Data on the current product composition of aquaculture productionin the Northern Territory were not available because of the limited number ofoperations.Western Australia is the largest supplier of aquaculture products (mostly pearloysters) in Australia, with the value of its production in 1995-96 estimated tohave been $124 million or 31 per cent of Australian aquaculture production.Tasmania is the next biggest producer, while Victoria is the smallest (table 3).A more detailed analysis of production in the various states, by species, is givenin appendix A.The degree of export market orientation varies across species. For example,most pearls, farmed tuna and farmed kuruma prawns are exported, withkuruma prawns nearly all exported live to Japan. The main markets for these
  10. 10. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREI Value of Australian aquaculture production 1993-94 $omFishAtlantic salmon 48 000Trout 12 646Tuna 24 225Silver perch 422Barrarnundi 2 419Eels 600Other fish 78 1Ornamental fish 603Total 89 696CrustaceansPrawns a 22 563Freshwater crayfish 4 234Mud crabs 2Total 26 799MolluscsPearl oysters b 84 OM)Edible oysters 42 437Mussels 2 160Abalone naScallops naClams naTotal 128 597OtherCrocodiles 1 728Micro algae naOther c 47 265Total 48 993Total aquaculture 294 085a Includes some freshwater prawns farmed in New South Wales. b Does not include pearl production from theNallhern Territory which is included in Other section of the Other catecorv e Includes the hew of aouacultureproduction from ihe Northern Territory which could not be disaggregated ?or--ons of confidentiality fhr allyears, and the value of some Tasmanian and South Australian aquaculture species that could not be disaggregatedfor 1994-95 and 1995-96. p Preliminary. s Estimated. na Not available.Souwes: New South Wales Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Northem Territory Department of PrimaryIndustry and Fisheries; Queensland Depanment of Primary Industries; Victorian Department of Conservation andNatural Resources; Tasmanian Depanment of Primary Industry and Fisheries; South Australian Research andDevelopment Institute; Rsheries Depanment of Western Australia; ABARE 1996.
  11. 11. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE3 Volume of Australian aquaculture production- salmonPirh .".mAtlantic 3118 3553 4118 4706 7285 7647Trout 1704 2 183 2015 2242 2 179 2498TunaSilver PerchBarramundiEels na na na na 1 1Other fish 1 30 17 42 20 187Ornamental fish na na na na na naTotal 4925 6044 6958 8 558 11 963 12925CrustaceansPrawns 94 1 898 1 129 1494 1 673 1 705Freshwater crayfish 138 171 207 392 336 243Mud crabs b b b b b bTotal 1099 1069 1336 1886 2 009 1948MolluscsPearl oystersEdible oystersMusselsAbaloneScallopsTotalOtherCrocodilesMicroalgaeOtherTotal aquaculture 14913 16 883 17 566 20 398 25 224 26 051a Includes some freshwater prawns farmed in New South Wales b Less than one tonne but included in the total.p Preliminary. na Not available. . .Sources: New South Wales Deomment of Aericulture and Fisheries: Northern Territorv Deoanmcnt of Prim-~- " ~ ~ ~~~InJuaty and F~rhcnes. u e ~ n r l u ~ d a n m e n t d l Pn~n;lryInJustncs; VlclJnJn Wpanment of Con,:rv~t~onanJ Q hpN:rluml Rcsource~. T3rmmun Ikpmntent of Pnnrq lnductry and H,hcnes. South Auctnlnn Rc.wsrrh ;mJlkrclopmrnt lnst~lulc. F~rhencr 1)epmmcnt of Wci1r.m Ausrrall3. AHARE 1996
  12. 12. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE3 Value of Australian aquaculture production, by stateNew South WalesVictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern Territoryp Preliminary.exports are Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Farmed silver perch, edible oystersand yabbies are mainly sold domestically.The mix of aquaculture and wild catch in total production also varies acrossspecies. For some species, such as Atlantic salmon, all production is fromaquaculture. For others, such as abalone, wild catch dominates. There areimportant links between the aquaculture and wild catch industries for somespecies. For example, southern bluefin tuna farming is influenced by the quotafor tuna, which are caught as juveniles and grown out for sale.Although the issues influencing the outlook vary widely across species, thereare several broad issues that are important for many species. These broad issuesinclude the availability of suitable sites, disease risk, access to cost effectivefeed regimes, and the influence of environmental and other regulations.
  13. 13. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE3. CrustaceansPrawnsThe majority of aquaculture prawn production in Australia is of the black tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon). Commercial production of the kuruma prawn (I?japonicus) is increasing annually with some farms that previously producedblack tiger prawns moving to kumma production and more recently new farms being set up specifically for kumma prawn production. There is also some production of the school prawn (Metapenaeus macleayi) and freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium australiense).Farming ofpenaeid prawns has undergone a rapid expansion in Australia sincethe first few tonnes were produced in 1984. Growth in output has beenparticularly strong for black tiger prawns, which account for over half of worldaquaculture production. In South East Asia, extensive investment intechnology in the 1970s and lower costs of production have supported the rapidrate of development of the aquaculture prawn industry.World cultured shrimp or prawn production increased from 0.4 million tonnesin 1986 to over 0.92 million tonnes in 1994 (FA0 1996a). The overall increasecame largely from the continuous increase in the culture of black tiger prawnfrom 0.33 million tonnes in 1991 to 0.5 1 million tonnes in 1994 (FA0 1996a).Black tiger prawns account for half of the worlds supply of farmed prawns.Black tiger prawnThe black tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon) is the major species in commercialprawn farming in Australia. The reasons for this include the availability ofexisting technology from South East Asia and the fact that this species is fastergrowing and is able to withstand wide changes in salinity. Production trialsusing other species ofpenaeid prawns have yielded slow growth rates, require-ment for high protein diets, harvesting difficulties and sensitivity to changesin salinity. Given current technology, the black tiger prawn is the mosteconomically viable prawn to culture in Australia (Lobegeiger, Taylor-Mooreand Gillespie 1994).The species is a tropical prawn and, while Queensland is the largest producer,the black tiger prawn is also farmed in northern New South Wales and the
  14. 14. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURENorthern Territory. Both the Queensland and New South Wales prawn farmingindustries have been in operation for over ten years.Structure of the black tigerpmwn industryIn 1995-96 there were thirty commercial prawn farms operating in Australia:24 in Queensland (from 25 permits); four in New South Wales (from ninepermits); and two in the Northern Territory (table 4). Although there is noaquaculture production of prawns in Western Australia, there is some interestin establishing farms for growing black tiger prawns at Exmouth.The industry is dominated by a small number of large producers. In 1995-96,83 per cent of total production was accounted for by 42 per cent of farms. Onefarm accounted for 34 per cent of total production.In Queensland, black tiger prawn farms are situated along the coast betweenBrisbane and Cooktown. The total ponded area is currently around 302hectares (table 5). In Queensland, because of climatic conditions, farmers areable to produce two crops a year, whereas farmers in New South Wales are4 Number of commercial black tigerprawnfarms no. no. no. no. no. no.New South Wales 7 5 6 6 6 4Queensland 21 22 23 23 21 24Northern Temtory na na na na 1 2Total 28 27 29 29 28 30na Not available.Sources: New South Wales Depmment of Agriculture and Fisheries; Queensland Department of PrimalyIndustries; Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries; Australian Prawn FarmenAssociationC Ponded area of black tiger prawn farms a ha ha ha ha ha haNew South Wales 50 53 64 67 89 60Queensland 181 215 216 250 224 302Northern Territory na na na na na 20Total 23 1 268 280 317 413 382a Includes commercial and noncommercial farms, na Not available for confidentiality reasons.Soumes: New South Wales Depmrnent of Agriculture and Fisheries; Queensland Department of PrimaryIndustries; Nonhem Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries. 7
  15. 15. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURElimited to a single crop each year. Most of the farms in New South Wales arelocated on the Clarence River in the north of the state. There is also a largefarm on the Richmond River at North Ballina. The total area of operationalponds is currently 60 hectares.There are currently two farms in operation in the Northern Territory andinterest has been expressed in establishing a large third farm in the next twoyears, bringing potential production in the Northern Territory to around 500tonnes a year (L. Evans, Australian Prawn Farmers Association, personal com-munication, May 1996). Over the past seven years, three ventures haveattempted unsuccessfully to farm prawns in the Northern Territory due to poorsite selection. However, in the past few years prawn farming has been attractingincreased interest frominterstate investors who already have successful prawnfarm overations (Northern Territorv Department of Primary Industry andThe total ponded area used for black tiger prawn farming has risen from anestimated 231 hectares in 1990-91 to an estimated 382 hectares in 1995-96(table 5). The ponded area is not equivalent to the area stocked as more thanone crop a year can be produced in north Queensland.Black tiger prawn production and valueQueensland is the largest producer of farmed black tiger prawns, accountingfor around 75 per cent of total Australian production in 1995-96 (table 6).f j Australian black tiger prawn productionVolume t t t t t tNew South Wales 184 183 267 264 213 232Queensland 755 715 830 1 184 1339 1 104Northern Territory na na na na na 140Total 939 898 1097 1448 1552 1476Value $000 $OOO $OOO $000 $OOO $000New South Wales 1 977 1775 3 156 3 225 2 521 2 890Queensland 8222 8 350 10 157 16 043 17 499 14 800Northern Territory na na na na na 1900Total 10 199 10 125 13 313 19268 20020 19590p Prel~#rltnary No1 ava~lnblefor confidenl~nl~l) na re;,un,.5hun.e.r New Sourh Wsles 1)epwIvnent o f Agncullure and R,henes. Qucen*laml lkp3nrncnl uf P n m qIndu,lnei. Northern Ternlory l k p a n ~ n e n of Pnoran Indu,lry and Rqhencr 19Yb. Aulral~anPrsun Fx~vullvr lAssociation.
  16. 16. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREBetween 1990-91 and 1995-96, production increased by 46 per cent inQueensland and 26 per cent in New South Wales. Estimated production in theNorthern Territory in 1995-96 was 140 tonnes (Northern Territory Departmentof Primary Industry and Fisheries).The total value of Australian black tiger prawn production has nearly doubledbetween 1990-91 and 1995-96, with the rise dominated by the increase in valuein Queensland (80 per cent). The value of production rose by 46 per cent inNew South Wales.Hatchery production and valueAustralian black tiger prawn culture depends on a supply of wild broodstockprawns caught by trawlers off Cairns. The number of hatcheries has increasedslowly from five in 1990-91 (all located in Queensland) to nine in 1995-96(table 7). Six hatcheries are associated with growout farms.The Australian Institute of Marine Sciences is undertaking research to developtechniques for breeding black tiger prawns in captivity. The six year researchprogram is nearing completion and if successful will mean that farmerscurrent reliance on wild caught egg carrying females for broodstock will bereduced. Research is also being undertaken to shorten the five to six monthgrowth cycle, and to produce larger prawns.7Australian black tiger prawn hatchery salesCommercial hatcheries no. no. no. no. no. no.New South Wales 0 0 2 1 1 1Queensland 5 8 6 7 8 8Sales 000 000 000 000 000 000New South Wales 0 0 11000 4500 10700 13500Queensland 65000 97000 112000 146000 130000 121000Total 65 000 97 000 123 000 150 500 140 700 134500Value $COO $OOO $OOO $OOO $OOO $OOONew South Wales 0 0 1650 77 180 230Queensland 650 1320 1 180 2 420 2210 1500Total 650 1320 2 830 2 497 2 390 1730p Preliminay. na Not available.Sources: New South Wales Department of Ag~icultun and Fisheries; Queensland Department of PrimaryIndustries.
  17. 17. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREMarketsVirtually all Australian production of farmed black tiger prawns is solddomestically as chilled product. Only around 3 per cent was exported in 1994-95. Around 20 per cent of Queenslands production is sold within Queensland,with the remainder going interstate, primarily to Sydney.Kuruma prawnAlthough most Australian prawn farms grow black tiger prawns, a smallnumber of farms grow the more valuable species kuruma prawn (Penaeusjaponicus) for live export to Japan. Commercial production of kuruma prawnscommenced in 1992-93 in Queensland and in 1994-95 in New South Wales.The kuruma prawn is believed to have been introduced to Australia through ballast water from coal ships, with breeding populations now established around Mackay in Queensland.Structure of the kuruma prawn industryQueensland is currently the largest producer of kuruma prawns, with seven outof eight permits issued operating as commercial farms located betweenBrisbane and Bundaberg. The total area of operational ponds in Queenslandwas 72 hectares in 1995-96 (table 8).The four farms situated in northern New South Wales have a total area ofoperational ponds of around 39 hectares (table 8). The sector is dominated byone farm, accounting for 50 per cent of total kuruma prawn production in 1995-96.8 Number andponded area of commercial kuruma prawn farmsFarms no. no. no. no. no. no.New South Wales 0 0 0 0 4 4Queensland 0 0 2 4 6 7Total 0 0 2 4 10 11Area ha ha ha ha ha haNew South Wales 0 0 0 0 27 39Queensland 0 0 11 26 43 72Total 0 0 11 26 70 116Sources: New South Wales Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Queensland Depanrncnt of PrimaryIndustries.
  18. 18. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE9 Australian kururna prawn productionVolume t t t t t tNew South Wales 0 0 0 0 35 39Queensland 0 0 23 45 85 190Total 0 0 23 45 120 229Value $000 $COO $OOO $OOO $000 $000New South Wales 0 0 0 0 1220 1930Queensland a 0 0 na 3 285 7 176 I3400Total 0 0 na 3 285 8 396 15 330a Landed value in Japan. p Preliminary. na Not avalable.Sources: New South Wales Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Queensland Department of P i a y rmrIndustries.Kuruma prawn production and valueAustralian commercial production of k ~ m m a prawns has risen considerablysince the first commercial crops in the early 1990s to be worth around $15.3million in 1995-96 (table 9). The most rapid growth has been in Queensland,where the value of production has risen substantially to $13.4 million in 1995-96. Production in New South Wales was worth $1.9 million in 1995-96.Although returns are much higher for kumma prawns than for black tigerprawns, operating and capital costs are higher for kumma prawns because ofdifferent cultivation requirements, such as deeper ponds and longer growoutperiods. Feed for this species is more expensive to produce (because of thehigher protein levels necessary for good growing performance in kummaprawns) than that required for black tiger prawns (Department of PrimaryIndustries and Energy 1996). The live export focus of the k u ~ m prawn also ameans that harvesting, processing, packaging, airfreight and marketing costsare higher. In 1995-96, average costs of shipping live prawns to Japan was$20-25 a kilogram (L. Evans, Australian Prawn Farmers Association, personalcommunication, April 1997).Markets for Australian famed prawnsAustralia is a relatively small producer in world prawn aquaculture. In 1993,Thailand was the worlds largest prawn producer, accounting for 27 per centof total world farmed prawn production, next was Indonesia (19 per cent), thePhilippines (12 per cent) and China and Ecuador (1 1 per cent each). Thailandand Indonesia are the largest producers of black tiger prawns (FA0 1995).
  19. 19. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE7 fi Worldproduction of kuruma and black tiger prawnKummaAustraliaItalyJapanKoreaOther AsiaSpainOtherTotalBlack tiger prawnAustralia 577 808 898 1 097Indonesia 67 355 96811 98 358 105 000Malaysia 1 275 2 184 2 821 3 938Other Asia 8 570 10 216 10 426 8 904Philippines 47 591 45 740 75 996 86 096Thailand 107 970 155 069 179 358 210 000Other 16 350 21 190 23 570 28 093Total 249 868 332018 391 427 443 128a Less than one tonne.Source: FA0 (1995).Production from other nations, such as India, is rising but future output in thesecountries will depend on the type of environmental controls and policiesimplemented.Of the two species farmed in Australia, black tiger and kuruma, Australia is arelatively small producer, contributing less than 1 per cent of total worldsupplies of these species (table 10).Nearly all Australian kumma prawns are exported as live product, with Japanas the major market. Kumma prawns are the most expensive prawn becauseof their freshness, cultural significance and perceived superior colour, tasteand texture. One-third of total production is exported to Korea and a smallquantity is sent to Taiwan. In 1995, Australian exports of live prawns on theJapanese market totalled 172 tonnes valued at around A$7 million (Japan TariffAssociation 1995).The Japanese live prawn market is dominated by the k ~ ~ prawn which has m aa particular appeal to Japanese buyers because of its distinctive red and white
  20. 20. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE11Japanese imports of live prawns 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 t t t t t tAustraliaChinaHong KongKoreaTaiwan 2710 4217 2953 138 45 17Other 0 1 0 1 12 36Total 2 883 4 359 3 244 520 452 474Source: Japan Tariff Association (1995).stripes when cooked and the characteristics already outlined. The firstsuccessful shipment of live kuruma prawns from Australia to Japan was in1991 (Stephens, Tran, Battaglene, Curtotti and Bull 1995).Australias major competitors on the Japanese market are Japanese domesticsupplies, China and Korea (table 11). Japanese production of farmed kurumaprawns in 1994 was 1519 tonnes (MAFF 1996). Kuruma prawns from Taiwanare considered by the Japanese to be of lower quality because of their smallersize in comparison with Japanese and Australian product (Ovenden and Kriz1993). A disease outbreak in Taiwanese prawn farms resulted in a sharp declinein Taiwanese production and consequently exports in 1993. Australia canmarket large sized kuruma prawns to Japan during the summer months whensupplies from northern hemisphere producers are low and the price on theJapanese market is high.Outlook for farmed prawnsPrawn farming has contributed an increasing share of total Australian prawnproduction. In 1990-91 Australian farmed prawns contributed 3 per cent tototal Australian prawn supplies; in 1995-96 the share had risen to 11 per cent.Aquaculture represents a potentially important source of growth in domesticprawn supplies.While the volume of Australian prawn aquaculture is low compared with manyoverseas producers and the industry faces a range of constraints, it is expectedthat the total area devoted to prawn farming will increase fromits current levelof around 400 hectares. This area will be devoted to production of both kurumaand black tiger prawns.
  21. 21. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREIn Queensland, an additional 300 hectares of prawn ponds are planned to beconstructed and be operational, in the next five years, doubling the size of thesector in Queensland industry (L. Evans, Australian Prawns FarmersAssociation, personal communication, May 1996).The ponded area for black tiger prawns is expected to expand in 1996-97 by110 hectares with two new farms being introduced (50 and 18 hectares) andthree operating farms expanding their pond area. The largest prawn farm inAustralia - Seafarm Pty Ltd - is expanding its operations at Cardwell in NorthQueensland from 62 to 92 hectares. For kuruma prawns the pond area isexpected to be expanded by 125 hectares in 1996-97 with three farmsexpanding and two new farms being developed in central Queensland (L.Evans, Australian Prawn Farmers Association, personal communication, April1997).There will be some further increase in production in the short term asestablished farms reach full capacity and make gains in productivity as farmingtechniques and technology improve.This increase in area, combined with expected higher yields, is projected toraise the production of kuruma prawns to around 550 tonnes a year and thevalue of production to around $60 million (in 1996-97 dollars) by 2001-02(Smith 1997).Japanese market returns will be a major influence on the direction of Australianprawn farming. If producer returns from sales of live kuruma prawns on theJapanese market stay high then the ponded area devoted to kuruma prawnfarming will increase. However, if farmgate prices for kuruma prawns fall fromcurrent levels then it is likely that more producers will focus on the productionof black tiger prawns for the domestic market.A potential limiting factor for expansion is the availability of suitable sites.There is limited opportunity for creating new farm sites on the east coast ofAustralia because of the conflict between aquaculture and other coastal usergroups. This is particularly the case on the New South Wales coastline whichis the most heavily populated in Australia. Many potentially suitable areas aredesignated national parks or reserves, and in some areas development of touristresorts has possibly alienated areas that are suitable for prawn farming.Suitable sites for growing kuruma prawns along the Queensland coast arelimited because a number of appropriate coastal areas have been secured asfish habitat reserves and wetland reserves. Uncertainty over native title claimshas the potential to limit expansion into other locations (Collins 1995).
  22. 22. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREThere are a number of other possible constraints on the growth of the industry.These include the requirements to meet environmental guidelines andmonitoring, particularly on waste discharge from ponds, access to broodstock,alternative and cheaper supplies of feed and the need to reduce production,marketing and processing costs.Environmental regulation and monitoring have become an issue for prawnfarmers in recent years. Disease outbreaks and consequent high mortalities inprawn farms within South East Asia, caused mainly by low standards ofenvironmental control in farms, have left regulatory authorities in Australiataking a cautious approach to environmental policies and regulations. It isargued by industry that the current degree of environmental monitoring isoverly strict considering the extremely low farm densities (farms per kilometreof coastline) of prawn farm operations in Australia as compared with SouthEast Asia.While the Commonwealth government is responsible for quarantine at thepoint of entry into Australia, the state and territory governments areresponsible for quarantine, product movement and disease control thereafter.Various state and territory governments have legislation dealing with animalhealth issues but regulations differ across the states. Evans (1996) argues thatthe ~ommonwealthcould a role in establishing standards and regulations. playThese inconsistencies are also apparent within state agencies over the licensing --of aquaculture facilities.Australian black tiger prawn culture depends on a supply of wild broodstockprawns caught by trawlers off Cairns. There are disadvantages involved withusing wild broodstock because there is a natural shortage of black tiger prawnsbetween September and February when hatchery demand is at its greatest.Research is currently being undertaken to reduce farmers dependence on wildcatches of egg bearing females for broodstock.Developments in prawn feed will also influence the future of the industry. Asin most other aquaculture industries, feed costs are a significant issue for theprawn farming industry. Feed comprises up to 60 per cent of on-farmproduction costs. Currently Australian prawn farmers use 3500 tonnes ofprawn feed a year, worth $5 million, most of which is imported (Bashford1996). Research is being undertaken by CSIRO to develop a cheaper prawnfeed that maximises the growth rates of farmed prawns and is more digestible.This latter aim is important since easier digestibility results in less foodwastage and hence decreased amount of nutrients entering the ponds, thusmaintaining higher water quality.
  23. 23. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREThe Japanese market for live kuruma prawns is relatively small and pricescould be expected to be sensitive to total supplies. Any significant expansionof production in Japan or in other countries may serve to reduce domesticprices. As most of the technologies involved in production and live freight arereadily transferable, it is likely that production will expand further. Highersupplies on the Japanese market, combined with the expectation of a strongerAustralian dollar against the yen over the medium term, make it unlikely thatthere will be a major Australian industry expansion into kurumaprawn farmingin the medium term.If there is only limited expansion of kuruma prawn production, much of thelarger ponded area will be devoted to production of black tiger prawns, mainlyfor the domestic market. While yields are expected to increase as managementpractices improve, disease control will remain a major issue, particularly inthe older ponds. The high level of fresh and frozen prawn imports (7800 tonnesvalued at $106 million in 1995-96 - ABARE 1996) and recent retailingdevelopments, such as the entry of major supermarket chains into seafoodretailing, suggest that the domestic industry will have relatively few difficultiesin marketing its product, even if there is a fall in import prices (Smith 1997).Freshwater crayfishThree native species of freshwater crayfish are farmed in Australia: yabby(Cherax destructor), redclaw (C. quadricarinatus) and marron (C. tenuimanus).The development of an inland Australian aquaculture industry for freshwatercrayfish began in the late 1960s with experimental culture of marron andyabby. Historically, most of Australias freshwater crayfish production hasbeen small scale cultivation of yabbies in farm dams.Freshwater crayfish are farmed extensively and semi-intensively. Extensiveculture is private farming in existing farm dams and natural water bodies.Supplementary feeding, stock and water quality management and predatorcontrol may be used to increase yields. Semi-intensive culture employspurpose built ponds.YabbyYabby (Cherax destructor) are native to the arid regions of eastern Australia.A population has also been translocated to the south west of WesternAustralian. Yabbies are currently farmed in New South Wales, South Australia,=ctoria and Western Australia. The species grows to a marketable size withineighteen months.
  24. 24. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREYabbies have been widely translocated to South East Asia, Central and SouthAmerica and Africa. The level of production outside of Australia is unknown,and is likely to be insignificant (Jbnes 1996).Structure of the industryAlthough there is a large number of enterprises involved in yabby farming, forthe majority of enterprises, yabby farming is a diversification from other formsof farming including agriculture.Of the 116 permits for yabby farming in New South Wales in 1995-96, 37farms were commercially operating (table 12). There has been a considerableincrease in total pond area farmed, from 54 hectares in 1990-91 to 653 hectaresin 1995-96.In Western Australia yabby farming is carried out in conjunction with theharvesting of koonacs (C. plebejus, C. glaber) and commercial catches of wildharvest yabbies. The farming is extensive and in many cases a supplement toagriculture farming, with local markets being supplied. In 1995-96 there were43 yabby farms in Western Australia.In South Australia there are approximately 400 registered crayfish farmers, 68of which were commercial yabby farmers in 1995-96. The freshwater crayfishsector is regionally organised, with many growers involved in both yabby andmarron growing. The South East, Kangaroo Island, Fleurieu Peninsula, MidNorth and Eyre Peninsular are the main growing regions (South AustralianDevelopment Council 1995).In Victoria, there were 7 2 culture permits issued for growing yabbies and 51culture permits for growing yabbies in conjunction with fish farming. Detailson the number of commercial operators were not available.12 Number of yabby farms or permits 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96New South Wales na 24 28 43 44 37South Australia na na na na 61 68Victoria na na na na 100 123 aWestern Australia 48 na 50 53 37 43Total-- 48 24 78 96 242 27 1 ~ .a Includes oermits for~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ farming vabbies and oemns for vabbies and fish. na Not available. ",S o u r e r New South Walcr l k p m m e n l of Agncullurc 2nd Fishencs. South Aulrdill&n Rcrcar.h ~ n 1)evcloprnent dInsl~rure; Fishencs kpanvnent of Western Auilral~a. V~clonan lkpvtrnenl of Conservat~on and NalunlResources.
  25. 25. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREYabby production and valueTotal Australian yabby production has nearly quadrupled since 1990-91, froman estimated 90 tonnes to an estimated 163 tonnes in 1995-96 (table 13). Totalvalue of output is estimated at around $2.1 million in 1995-96.Western Australia is the largest producer of farmed yabbies, with annualproduction estimated at 112 tonnes in 1995-96, valued at $1.2 million (table13). Drought conditions in Western Australia led to the decline in productionin 1995-96 as many dams became unusable. New South Wales is the nextbiggest producer. Recent data for Victorian production are unavailable. Annualproduction in Victoria fluctuates around five tonnes compared with wildcommercial catches of 7-16 tonnes. However, it has been argued that much ofthe product sold from farms is taken or sold illegally from public waters(Victorian Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 1995).MarketsYabbies have been marketed from both the wild capture fishery and aqua-culture sector for several years. On the two major domestic fish markets -Sydney and Melbourne -the average annual throughput over the period 1991-92 to 1995-96 was 36 tonnes of live and cooked product.13 Yabby growout production 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96pVolume t t t t t tNew South Wales 9 15 6 16 32 34South Australia a 19 12 10 26 10 17Victoria 20 5 5 5 na naWestern Australia 42 81 127 289 210 112Total 90 113 148 336 252 163Value $OOO $OW $000 $OW $OW $OOONew South Wales 87 181 73 210 511 409South Australia a 292 136 113 293 100 175Victoria 200 60 60 100 325 325Western Australia 338 690 1148 2610 2100 1230Total 917 1067 1394 3213 3036 2139a Includes mmon. p Preliminary.Sources: New South Wales Department of Agriculmre and Fisheries; South Australian Research and DevelopmentInstitute; Victorian Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Fisheries Department of WesternAustralia; ABARF, 1996 and previous issues. 18
  26. 26. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREBased on industry estimates, 80-100 tonnes of farmed product could be soldon the domestic market. Some growers have exported product to European andSouth East Asian markets. However, no published data are available on thelevel or destination of Australian yabby exports. In Western Australia, whichis the major growing state, the product is sold live on the local market and inEuropean markets. Approximately 70 per cent of Western Australianproduction is exported. It is expected that there will be a shift from Europeanto Asian markets over the next five years.RedclawRedclaw (Cherax quadricarintalus) is a tropical species from northernQueensland. There is no commercial wild capture fishery for redclaw,primarily the result of their remote location from markets. The commercialaquaculture of redclaw commenced in 1985 in Queensland. Ponds are stockedwith juveniles that are taken from the wild or are hatchery reiied. Someoperators maintain broodstock ponds that contain naturally reproducingpopulations (Kailola, Williams, Stewart, Reichelt, McNee and Grieve 1993).Structure of the industryThe industry consists of a number of large producers and many small producersall producing redclaw semi-intensively in earthen ponds.Queensland has the largest number of commercial farms (table 14). InQueensland the majority of redclaw production is farmed in conjunction withother enterprises (including agriculture and tourist enterprises). In 1995-96there were 112 permit holders for redclaw, of which 62 farms produced14Number andponded area of commercial of redclaw farmsFarms no. no. no. no. no. no.New South Wales 0 0 5 8 7 5Queensland 21 27 34 44 44 62Total 21 27 .39 52 51 67Area ha ha ha ha ha haNew South Wales 0 0 2 22 18 6Queensland 157 162 81 47 57 68Total 157 162 83 69 75 74Sources: New South Wales Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Queensland Department of PrimaqIndustries.
  27. 27. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREcommercial quantities. It also appears that there is a constant turnover of permitholders in the industry in Queensland (Lobegeiger 1995).Redclaw fanning did not commence in New South Wales until 1992-93. Whilethere is some redclaw farming activity in the north of the state it is unlikelythat there will be any further development because climate conditions are notentirely suitable for growing this species. In 1995-96there were twenty permitsholders, with five farms commercially producing redclaw.In the Northern Territory there are two licensed redclaw farms, but each is stillin the pilot stage of development. Tropical redclaw cany diseases not foundin Victoria and it is unlikely that an application to farm the tropical species inthat state would be approved.While there has been an increase in the number of operators in Queensland,the area under commercial production has declined since 1991-92. In NewSouth Wales, ponded area has also fallen since 1993-94 (table 14).Redclaw growout production volume and valueTotal Australian redclaw production peaked in 1994-95 at 63 tonnes, valuedat nearly $0.9 million. In 1995-96, total Australian production fell to 55 tonnes,valued at around $0.8 million. Production fell in both states in 1995-96 (table15).Queensland is by far the dominant redclaw producing state, with productionincreasing from around 33 tonnes in 1990-91 to 54 tonnes in 1995-96. TheVolumeNew South WalesQueenslandTotalValueNew South WalesQueenslandTotalp Preliminary.Sources: New South Wales Depmment of Agriculture and Fisheries; Queensland Department of PrimaryIndusuies. 20
  28. 28. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREvolume of redclaw farmed in New South Wales peaked in 1993-94 and 1994-95 at 3 tonnes. Production in the Northern Territory is expected to stay under100 kilograms (Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry andFisheries 1996).MarketsCurrently the main market for redclaw is the domestic market. Around 70-80per cent of product is sold in Australia, with Sydney and Melbourne being themain markets. The majority of the product is sold live, both on the domesticand export markets. Some product is sold frozen, either whole or split. Themain export market has been Japan, but interest is being developed in Taiwan,Korea, Indonesia and Singapore. Detailed data on exports of Australianredclaw are not available.Large quantities of juveniles have been exported in recent years. Manycountries in southern Asia, North and South America, Africa and parts ofEurope have obtained stock from Australia. In 1994-95, Queensland hatcheriessold 1.4 million juveniles valued at $0.37 million -77 per cent were destinedfor overseas markets, 22 per cent for Queensland operators and 1 per cent forinterstate farms. Redclaw are also grown in the United States, Latin Americanand Caribbean countries. These suppliers are likely to be Australias maincompetition on export markets.In 1996 the average farmgate price was $10-16 a kilogram for animals under100 grams (B. March, South Queensland Redclaw Farmers Association,personal communication, September 1996). There is a high market demandfor animals over 100 grams, particularly on export markets. However, becauseoperating costs are high, most farmers attempt high stocking densities, andproduce animals under 100 grams.MarronMarron (Cherax tenuimanus) is a freshwater crayfish native to WesternAustralia. It has been cultured in that state for over twenty years. Marron havebeen translocated to southern Queensland, northern New South Wales andSouth Australia for farming purposes. However, most Queensland farms haveswitched to the production of redclaw. Translocation has not been undertakenby Victoria where marron is declared a noxious fish.Marron have also been widely translocated and efforts to develop aquacultureenterprises have been made in the United States, Central America and Africa.However, no commercial production has been reported (Jones 1996).
  29. 29. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREStructure of the industryMarron are cultured both extensively and semi-intensively in WesternAustralia and South Australia. Environmental conditions in New South Walesare suited to marron growing, but the number of producers is small. In 1995-96 there were four commercial farms in New South Wales, from nine permitsissued. In South Australia there were 28 commercial marron operators in 1994-95 and 33 in 1995-96. In Western Australia there were 86 permits issued in1994-95 and 105 in 1995-96.Marron production volume and valueThe total value of marron farming for human consumption is estimated to havebeen about $0.7 million in 1995-95 (table 16). There is also hatcheryproduction of marron (see below). Growout increased from 15 tonnes in 1990-91 to 25 tonnes in 1995-96. Average unit values over the period 1990-91 to1995-96 have ranged from $23 a kilogram to nearly $29 a kilogram, makingit the highest valued freshwater crayfish species farmed in Australia.MarketsThe marron farming industry supplies two main markets. The first is the marketfor human consumption, both domestic and export. About a quarter ofproduction used for human consumption is exported, mainly to Taiwan, theUnited States and Europe. The second market is for juvenile marron which arestocked for commercial or private culture and are sold both on domestic andexport markets.16 Marron growout productionVolume t t t t t tNew South Wales 0 0 a a B aWestern Australia 15 16 17 18 17 19South Australia b 2 1 3 4 6Total 15 18 18 21 21 25Value $OOO $OOO $OOO $OOO $OW $OWNew South Wales 0 0 2 3 7 3Western Australia 308 392 430 450 385 570South Australia b 41 34 85 84 141Total 308 433 466 538 476 714a Less than one tonne but included in the total. b included in yabby statistics. p Preliminary.Sources: New South Wales Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Fisheries Department of Western Australia;South Australian Research and Development Institute.
  30. 30. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREFreshwater crayfish hatchery productionReflecting the small number of hatcheries involved in commercial operationsin some states, data on hatchery production for freshwater crayfish can onlybe presented in an aggregated form.Data on yabby hatchery production were available only for New South Wales.The number of permits has fluctuated widely in recent years. The number ofpermits for hatchery production far exceeds the number of hatcheries in com-mercial operation. For example, of the 21 permit holders in 1995-96,only fifteenoperated as commercial hatcheries. Prior to 1992-93 hatchery production wasfor wild release only. There are no hatcheries in South Australia.Redclaw hatcheries are located primarily in Queensland. In 1994-95, therewere an estimated nineteen hatcheries producing redclaw juveniles on acommercial basis in Queensland while there were two operating in New SouthWales. The total number of juveniles sold in 1995-96 was around 1.0 million,valued at $0.2 million (table 17).Marron hatcheries are located in Western Australia and New South Wales;however. data on the number of hatcheries were not available for Western Aus-tralia. N&hatcheries exist in South Australia. The total value of output in 1995-96 was estimated to be about $0.2 million, with 0.4 million juveniles sold.1 7%shwater crayfish hatchery sales and valueSalesYabbyRedclawMarronTotalValueYabbyRedclawMarronTotala For wild release onlv. o PreliminmSources: New South % i e s Depanm;nt of Agriculture and Fisheries; Fisheries Department of Western Australia;Queensland Depamnent of Primary Indusuies.
  31. 31. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREOutlookfor freshwater crayfishOn the domestic market, yabbies, redclaw and marron largely compete witheach other for market share although they have different attributes. Forexample, redclaw has a higher meat to weight ratio than yabby. Lack ofknowledge about the differences between the products has meant that the - - -market is often unwilling to pay more for one species than another. This factorhas contributed to the problem of promoting reiclaw as high value product (B.March, President, South Oueensland Redclaw Farmers Association, personalcommunication, September 1996).While interest in farming redclaw has increased, as it is thought to have betterprospects than yabby or marron because higher yields are obtainable, thefragmented nature of the industry has meant that marketing and promotion ofthe product has been limited. This fragmentation of the industry is not only anissue for redclaw growers. The extensive nature of farming and the lack ofquality control are major issues facing the marron and yabby sectors.In Western Australia there has been deregulation of the commercial marronfarming industry to encourage development opportunities. Under the oldregulations, marron were commercially produced under a variety of licensingarrangements, ranging from impositions on which market various licenceholders could sell to requirements for pond construction, broodstock andpredator proofing requirements. Under the new regulations, growers will haveaccess to a greater range of markets, limits on pond and dam sizes have beenreduced and restrictions on the type of pond or dam construction and predatorproofing have been lifted. However, unlike yabby farming, the costs ofinvesting in marron farming are considerable because of the need to buildponds.Further development of the marron sector is likely in South Australia.Estimates of marron production are 100 tonnes a year by 2000. For yabbies,production is expected to increase at a rate of 5 tonnes a year to 50 tonnes ayear by 2000 (South Australian Development Council 1995). In WesternAustralia, areas farmed for marron are expanding north of Perth, where watertemperatures are higher and growing periods are consequently shorter. Marronare slower growing than yabbies but grow to a larger size and are a highervalued product.Treadwell, McKelvie and Maguire (1992) conclubed that the potential of theindustry will depend critically on the effects on costs of improvements in farmperformance and the success of marketing efforts in reducing the effect ofhigher supplies on prices, including the development of export markets. Smith,
  32. 32. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREDennis and Proctor (1996) reported that there is potential to develop trade withSouth Korea for yabby and marron. A11 three species are native to Australia,so it could be expected that Australia would have an advantage as a supplieronce markets are developed. However, competition is likely from farmedredclaw from US, Latin American and Carribean suppliers.The extent of translocation of redclaw outside of Australia possibly exceedsthe other two species (yabby and marron) combined (Jones 1996). Manycountries in southern Asia, North and South America, Africa and even partsof Europe have obtained stock. Commercial production and sale of broodstockand juveniles has occurred in the United States and substantial growth isreported from Ecuador. In Latin America and Caribbean countries, suitableclimate conditions, low labour costs, minimal regulatory restrictions and theabundance of freshwater resources suggest that redclaw aquaculture may besuccessful (Medley, Jones and Avault 1994).
  33. 33. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE4. MolluscsPearl oystersThe pearl industry is Australias most valuable aquaculture industry. There arepearl farms in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, withWestern Australia being the dominant producer.Several species of pearl are found and cultured in Australian waters. The mainpearl oyster cultured in Australia is the gold or silver lipped pearl oyster(Pinctada maxima), which produces high quality pearls known as South Seapearls and mother of pearl shell. This species can be found across the centralIndo-Pacific region from India to New Guinea and the Philippines, and inAustralia from Carnarvon on the west coast to south of Cairns on the east coast(Bureau of Resource Sciences 1994). Other species farmed in Australia on amuch smaller scale include the Shark Bay pearl oyster (P albina albina), theblack lipped pearl oyster ( P margaritifera) and the winged oyster (Pteriapenguin).Structure of the industryIn Western Australia, pearling activity centres on Broome, where there arecurrently sixteen pearl producers (table 18). There are four hatcheries inWestern Australia and a fifth currently being built. The quota on wild shell inWestern Australia is 572 000 shells a year.Pearl oyster culture has been operating in Western Australia for around fortyyears and many of the basic techniques for pearl growing are well established.The industry is presently based on the collection of pearl oysters from the wild18 Number of pearl licences 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96Western Australia 13 13 16 16 16 16Queensland na na na 21 20 20Northern Territory na na na 5 6 6Total 13 13 16 42 42 42na Not available.Sources: Fisheries Department of Western Australia; Northern Territory Depattment of Primary Industry andFisheries; Queensland Depmment of Primary Indusuies.
  34. 34. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREduring the fishing season which are transported to farms for use in theproduction of cultured pearls. Pearl oysters are farmed in mesh panels hungfrom floating longlines or supported on the sea floor.There are currently six licensed operations in the Northern Territory (table 18).These farms are situated around Darwin, with wild shell collected primarilywest of Melville Island and north of Arnhem Land. The quota on wild shell inthe Northern Territory is 120 000 shells a year. The allocation may be used asmother of pearl or part live shell for farms.Licensed companies in the Northern Territory must hold both a fishery andculture licence to operate, and so all six farms are entitled to establishhatcheries. Two companies established a private pearl oyster hatchery under ajoint arrangement in 1991. This was established with the support of theNorthern Temtory government to boost the number of shells available forculture.In Queensland, around half of the twenty current pearl farms are located aroundThursday Island in the Torres Strait near the tip of Cape York. The remainingfarms are situated between Cooktown and Townsville.Almost all wild shell in Queensland is collected in the Torres Strait ProtectedZone management area. Three companies produce hatchery reared shell on theeast coast to supplement supplies of wild shell.Pearl beds in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Torres Straitare jointly managed by state and Commonwealth governments. Pearl farms,including farming and in some areas collecting, are the responsibility of thestates. Many pearl farms on the east Queensland coast are located withinQueensland marine parks or the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park area. Farmingwithin the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Torres Strait Treaty Zonerequires prior consultation with, and a permit from, the Great Barrier ReefMarine Park Authority and the Torres Strait Islander Council respectively.In Western Australia, pearling is covered by separate legislation from otheraquaculture industries. The pearling industry has operated under separatelegislation since before 1912, and is Western Australias longest establishedaquaculture industry. The 1990 Pearling Act aims to maintain both sustain-ability and the value of the industry. Quotas based on levels of historical fishingare imposed to control numbers of shell taken from the wild to ensuresustainability of the stock. Production levels are also controlled through quotasimposed on the number of hatchery raised spat each farm can culture. Hencenew entrants to the industry need to buy quota from existing licence holders.
  35. 35. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE19 Value of Australian pearl production 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96p $COO $OOO $OOO $OOO $OOO $OOOWestern Australia 126187 126000 79600 84000 143000 121 300Northern Territory na na na na na naQueensland na na na na 10000 10000Total 126187 126000 79600 84000 153000 131300p Preliminary. na Not available for confidentiality reasons.Sources: Fisheries Derrartment of Western Australia; Queensland DepaRment of Primary IndustriesAt present each company is licensed to use 20000 spat supplied fromhatcheries. Such a system is designed to discourage overproduction and ensurethat the current value of the industry in maintained.Pearl production and valueBecause of the limited number of farms in the industry, the volume ofproduction of pearls is confidential and thus not available. However, it is knownthat, on average, the production of pearls has been gradually rising as industryefficiency has improved and the value of pearls in Japanese yen has fallen(M. Buckley, Pearl Producers Association, personal communication, June1996). In 1995-96, the estimated value of Australian pearl production(excluding the Northern Territory) was at least $131 million, making itAustralias most valuable aquaculture industry (table 19).The reduction in the yen value of pearls over the past seven years has beencaused by a number of factors. First, demand has been fluctuating in Japanbecause of the recent economic slump and the earthquake at Kobe, thedistribution centre in Japan for the majority of the worlds pearls. Second,prices fell in 1992-93because of expectations of a large increase in productionfrom Indonesia. However, this production increase did not eventuate becauseof the extensive pearl oyster mortality in the Indonesian pearling sector.MarketsPearls are marketed principally in Japan by a limited number of buyers andsellers. In 1995-96 total Australian pearl exports were valued at $196 million(table 20). Historically, Japan and Hong Kong have been Australias majormarkets, accounting for around 80 per cent of the value of Australian pearlexports. A considerable proportion of pearls exported to Hong Kong arethought to be re-exported to the United States. In 1995-96 there was a quantityof pearls sent to a confidential destination. The value of these exports was$1 16 million and are included in other country destinations.
  36. 36. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE Australian pearl exports, by destination20Japan 79 013Hong Kong 7 320Switzerland 1113United States 12 792Spain 386Other 2 314Total 102 939Source: Ausvalian Bureau of Statistics.Pearl exports are classified by various types - natural pearls, unworkedcultured pearls and worked cultured pearls. The cultured pearls are furtherclassified into round, half round or other types. In 1995-96,60 per cent of thetotal value of Australian pearl exports was in round, cultured unworked pearls.OutlookMarketing issues are seen as one of the most important areas of future focusfor the Australian pearl industry, particularly with increased world production.As world production increases, marketing quality pearls will become moreimportant if market share is to be maintained. In response to these pressures,the industry has developed a marketing and promotional strategy to increasethe profile of Australian pearls which are of a higher quality in terms of quality,longevity and size than other cultured South Sea pearls.Major competitive threats to the Australian pearl industry come fromIndonesia and the Philippines where there is considerable production potentialof Pinctada maxima at lower costs of production than in Australia. Despite thepotential in terms of production from farms in these countries, the pearlscurrently produced are mainly a creamy to yellow pearl of a lower quality thanAustralian pearls. In addition, farms in these countries are suffering high pearloyster mortalities as a result of environmental factors.Most established pearl fanns in Australia have reached a plateau of productionunder current wild shell quota restrictions. Maintaining the value of the pearlindustry has been apriority with state governments, hence the wild shell quotaand the imposition of hatchery quotas. Hatchery quotas were put in place in1989, to control the production of shell to maintain values. Given this, it isunlikely that the number of licences granted will increase in the near future.
  37. 37. AUSTRALZAN AQUACULTUREHatchery produced spat has become an important supplement to wild shell,particularly as the pearl industry on the east coast has always suffered from alack of available shell. Current research with the potential to influence futureproduction levels include the development of hatchery techniques andimproving post-settlement survival. The technology used in producing pearlsfrom spat grown in hatcheries is still being developed. The shells are reared intanks and then placed in pearl farms in the ocean after about two months. Eachhatchery reared shell is seeded after two years and the pearl then takes abouttwo years to reach a salable size. In Westem Australia, which has the mostadvanced hatchery technology, it will take around five years for the first pearlsto be produced from these operations and thus before hatchery technology hasa clear impact on production (Pownall 1996).Edible oystersThe species currently grown in Australia include Sydney rock oysters(Saccostrea commercialis), Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), the native flatoyster (Ostrea angasi), the milky or northern oyster (S. Amasa) and theblacklip oyster (S. echinata).Sydney rock oystersSydney rock oysters (Saccostrea commercialis) are cultured in estuarine areasand rivers of Queensland and New South Wales. In Queensland, production ofSydney rock oysters is generally located in the south, from the New SouthWales border to Hervey Bay. In New South Wales most Sydney rock oysterproduction is from leases located at Wallis Lake, Port Stephens, HawkesburyRiver and Georges River. Most spat are collected in the areas where com-mercial growing operations take place; however, some oyster growerspurchase spat from other areas.Structure of the industryIn New South Wales the number of Sydney rock oyster permits and numberof farms has declined significantly from 3800 farms operating commerciallyin 1991-92 to 393 in 1995-96 (table 21). The number of commercial farmsrepresents just over half of the permit holders in 1995-96. The major cause forthis decline has been the spread of the Pacific oyster into traditional Sydneyrock oyster growing areas.The industry in New South Wales is dominated by a few large growers. Around20-25 per cent of the growers produce 95 per cent of the states crop(R. Roberts, Oyster Farmers Association of New South Wales, personalcommunication, April 1996). Limited data are available for the number of
  38. 38. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE3 1 Number of Sydney rock oysterfarms and areafarmedFarmsNew South Wales na 3 800 na 697 645 393Queensland na na na 142 133 naTotal na na na 839 678 naArea ha ha ha ha ha haNew South Wales a na 5 037 na 4 480 4714 3 723Queensland na na 745 674 673 naTntal~ na na na 5 154 5 387 na U ~ P I C ns NuI atzlitblea Iuiludes Paclfi; ~Soun.er Nru South Wnlea 1)epanvnent u l Agncullurr and R s h m e r . Quwnsland Depmment of PnllluyIndustries.fanns and permits held in Queensland, however, there has been a decline inrecent years.In New South Wales the industry is regulated by New South Wales Fisheriesand the Health Department. The New South Wales Health Department isresponsible for the inspection and licensing of oyster depuration plants. Thereare a number of zones to control the movement of oysters from one estuary toanother as part of the Pacific oyster control program and in order to quarantinethe QX disease to the northern rivers area and the Georges River.Sydney rock oyster productionHistorically, Sydney rock oyster has been the most important edible oysterproduced in Australia. However, production declined considerably during the1980s. Reasons for this include the introduction of the Pacific oyster, pollution,toxic algal blooms and disease. As the production of Sydney rock oysters hasdeclined there has been a significant increase in Pacific oyster production,mainly in Tasmania and South Australia. This increase is expected to continue.In New South Wales the Sydney rock oyster is still the most valuable aqua-culture industry. While output has been slowly declining since 1990-91, thevalue of production has been relatively stable at around $28 million (table 22).Pacific oysterPacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) are native to Japan, but have beenintroduced elsewhere in the world for culture. World production was 0.87 31
  39. 39. AUSTRALZAN AQUACULTURE3 3 Sydney rock oyster productionVolume t t t t t tNew South Wales 5 809 6 372 5 785 5 785 5 180 4 844Queensland 176 153 192 125 90 125Total 5 985 6525 5 977 5 910 5 270 4969Value $000 $OOO $OOO $OOO $ooo $oooNew South Wales 26245 28815 27900 28283 27616 27121Queensland 888 707 759 570 398 570Total 27 133 29522 28659 28853 28014 27691p Preliminary.Sources: New South Wales Department of Agriculture and Fisheries: Queensland Department of PrimaryIndustries.million tonnes in 1993, with the main producers being Japan, South Korea,China and France (FA0 1995).Pacific oysters were first introduced to Western Australia, Tasmania andVictoria between 1947 and 1952. The Western Australian population did notsurvive but oysters from southern Tasmania did and were transplanted to PortSorell. These oysters colonised the Tamar River and now form the basis of theTasmanian commercial fishery. They were also introduced to Mallacoota Inletin Victoria and Coffin Bay in South Australia.Pacific oysters do not suffer from Winter Mortality and QX diseases as doesthe Sydney rock oyster, but both species suffer from mud worm infestation.Industry structurePacific oysters are farmed commercially in estuaries along the north and eastcoasts of Tasmania and several areas in South Australia. In recent years theyhave also penetrated New South Wales oyster growing estuaries, particularlyPort Stephens. Pacific oyster spat appeared in larger numbers in Port Stephensin 1985 and was then considered a noxious species. Restrictions on growingand marketing of Pacific oysters in New South Wales were lifted in 1991. PortStephens is the only region in New South Wales where farmers are permittedto grow Pacific oysters commercially. In 1995-96 there were 35 permitsgranted for the farming of Pacific oysters in New South Wales, and of theseeighteen farms produced commercially (table 23).
  40. 40. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE3 3 Number of commercial Pacific oysterfarms 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96New South Wales na 10 na 13 14 18Tasmania na na 67 na na 85South Australia na na na na 50 56Victoria na na na na 1 1Total na na na na na 160na Not avnilable.Sources: New South Wales Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Tasmanian Department of Primary lndustlyand Fisheries; South Australian Research and Development Institute.Since 1986, the %ctorian government policy has been to prohibit the farmingof Pacific oysters in situations where feral populations may become estab-lished. Consequently culture of this species occurs in ponding at CheethamSalts Ltds Lara salt ponds. A proposal to farm Pacific oysters in Comer Inletwas rejected by the Victorian government in late 1996.In South Australia there are currently 85 licensed Pacific oyster farms,occupying a total area of 600 hectares. In 1995-96, 56 farms were operatingcommercially. These leases are situated in five major areas, all on the EyrePeninsula: Denial Bay (near Ceduna); Smoky Bay; Streaky Bay; Coffin Bay;and Franklin Harbour (Cowell). Small numbers of leases are also located atLouth Bay (near Port Lincoln) and in Nepean Bay and Kangaroo lsland (SouthAustralian Development Council 1995). Ceduna and Smoky Bay producearound 69 per cent of oysters in South Australia (Davidson 1996).Leases rangein size from four to 10 hectares.A hatchery has been established in South Australia, following concerns thatTasmanian hatcheries may not be able to consistently supply spat to SouthAustralian growers and concerns about the possible importing of biologicalhazards, for example, north Pacific seastar and toxic dinoflagelletes.The Pacific oyster dominates oyster farming in Tasmania. The total leased areais 1351 hectares, of which about a third is developed, with another thirdsuitable for development. The remaining third is not suitable for oysterproduction using current production methods (Tasmanian Department ofPrimary Industry and Fisheries 1996).Pacific oyster productionTasmania dominates Australian production of Pacific oysters, accounting forover three-quarters of total production. Total Australian production of Pacificoysters more than doubled over the five years to 1995-96, to an estimated 4909
  41. 41. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE24 Pacific oyster productionVolume t t t t t tNew South Wales na 43 32 107 146 178Tasmania 2 175 2 235 2250 2 175 3044 3 750South Australia 106 139 345 486 855 976Victoria 3 4 4 4 5 5Total 2284 2422 2631 2772 4050 4 909Value YO00 $OOO $OOO $OOO $OOO $OOONew South Wales na 219 191 518 772 953Tasmania 10320 10430 11 084 11 000 15 218 19 000South Australia 448 669 1414 1945 3 535 3 950Victoria 16 20 16 16 18 18Total 10784 11 338 12705 13479 19543 23921p Prcliminq. na Not available.Sources: New South Wdes Department of Agriuculture and Fisheries; Tasmanian DepMment of Primmy lndustlyand Fisheries; Sauth Aushalian Research and Development Inslitute; Victorian Department of Natural Resourcestonnes. The total value of production rose sharply over the period, to around$24 million in 1995-96 (table 24).The South Australian Pacific oyster industryhas expanded rapidly since its first major harvest in 1990-91.Other edible oystersA native or flat oyster (Ostrea angasi) farm and hatchery has been establishedin Western Australia, with commercial growout being undertaken at a numberof lease areas within Oyster Harbour and Princess Royal Harbour. In 1995-96there were four licences issued, however, there was only one commercialproducer operating. Other pilot hatcheries are being developed for westernrock oyster in Western Australia.Flat oysters are prized in European markets but the European product is ofpoor quality and the industry is restricted by disease. The native SouthAustralian oyster has the potential to access this market, as farming techniquesused in Australia produce a high quality product which, though susceptible todisease, can be farmed to avoid it. However, there are technical difficulties ingrowing flat oysters that may limit the growth of this sector of the SouthAustralian industry (South Australian Development Council 1995).
  42. 42. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREIn Queensland, north of Hervey Bay, the majority of oyster production is basedon harvesting from natural stocks on rocky headlands. The main speciesinvolved are milky oyster (Saccostra tuberculata and S. amasa) and blacklipped oyster (S. echinata). Production is limited to selective harvesting,retention of broodstock and maintenance of banks.In the Northern Territory, while there have been expressions of interest infarming black lipped and milky oysters there have been no commercialdevelopments to date. Native flat oysters are also grown in Tasmania; however,the volume of production has declined as production of Pacific oysters hasincreased. In 1995-96 there were thirteen leases growing native oysters.In 1995-96 total production of other edible oysters was around 35 tonnes,valued at $0.1 million (table 25).25 Other edible oysters productionVolume t t t t t tQueensland 48 33 30 35 25 35Tasmania a a 20 na na 1 bWestern Australia - - - na na naTotal 48 53 30 35 26 35Value $OOO $OOO $OOO $OOO $OoO $COOQueensland 153 147 111 105 87 105Tasmania na 170 na na 6 3Western Australia - - - na 2 naTotal 153 317 111 105 95 108a Includes wild harvest production until 1994-95. b Less than one tonne. p Preliminary. na Not available forcon6dentiality reasons.Sources: Queensland Depanment of Primaq Indusuies; Tasmanian Department of Prinwy Industry and Fisheries;Fisheries D e p m e n t of Western Australia.Markets for Australian oystersThe majority of Australian oyster production is currently sold on the domesticmarket. The New South Wales supply of Sydney rock oysters is primarilytargeted at the Sydney and interstate markets, while production of Pacificoysters is targeted at interstate markets. In 1995-96, the interstate market forSydney rock oysters from New South Wales was worth $9.7 million and thelocal Sydney market was worth $11.5 million (New South Wales Fisheries
  43. 43. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE1997). In 1995-96, $0.6 million worth of Pacific oysters were sold interstate.The decline in production in New South Wales in recent years has been filledpartially by Tasmanian and New Zealand product.Total Australian oyster imports in 1995-96 were 555 tonnes (product weight),95 per cent of which were sourced from New Zealand. Imports of oysters haverisen by 50 per cent since 1990-91. All of this increase was of Pacific oystersfrom New Zealand. In 1996, imports from New Zealand comprised 3 1per centchilled half shell product and 66 per cent frozen half shell product (NewZealand Fishing Industry Board 1996).Tasmanian Pacific oysters are sold in three forms - fresh unopened (thecommonest form), fresh opened and frozen opened. The majority ofTasmanian oysters are distributed to the domestic markets in Victoria,Queensland or New South Wales. In Tasmania there is a growing trend forsmaller producers to sell through other larger producers. In addition, thecooperative marketing of Tasmanian oysters is currently under way throughTaSea, a cooperative of oyster growers set up to market premium oysters.South Australian production is now marketed primarily through OYSA, theSouth Australian Oyster Marketing Cooperative. OYSA markets 90-95 percent of all South Australian oysters. Most of the product is targeted at the SouthAustralian and Victorian markets. There is potential to further expand marketsas six growing areas have now been approved under the Australian ShellfishSanitation Program to supply undepurated Pacific oysters anywhere inAustralia. The majority of South Australian oysters are sold live (unopened).Queensland producers market oysters both in Queensland and New SouthWales, primarily through the Sydney Fish Market.World production of oysters is dominated by Pacific oysters (Crassostreagigas). In 1993total world production was nearly 1.02million tonnes, of which85 per cent were Pacific oysters (FA0 1995) (table 26). The major oysterproducers are Korea, Japan, France and China, which contributed 25, 23, 16and 12 per cent respectively to total world supplies of oysters (FA0 1995).Total Australian oyster exports have fluctuated widely in recent years. Exportsreached a peak of 56 tonnes (product weight) in 1994-95 but fell to 21 tonnesin 1995-96. The main markets for Australian oysters have been Singapore andHong Kong (table 27). Tasmania has been the major exporting state since 1993-94, accounting for over half of Australias exports. The next largest exportingstate has been New South Wales.
  44. 44. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTURE26 World oyster production, by speciesEuropean flat oysterPacific cupped oysterAmerican cupped oysterPortuguese cupped oysterSydney cupped oysterOtherTotal 875.9 875.8 953.9 1019.527Australian oyster exports, by destinationVolumeHong Kong t 6 1 3 3 6 10Japan t 4 2 3 2 1 3Malaysia t - - 1 2 3 3Singapore t 4 1 1 21 24 5Taiwan t - - - 6 8 -Other t 8 9 26 13 14 0Total t 22 13 34 47 56 21Value $OOO 227 220 330 577 607 348Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Hong Kong oyster imports28Australia 6 6 6 9 16 11Canada 174 223 265 247 319. 399China 75 113 296 201 447 613Japan 20 4 616 684 330 996New Zealand 128 105 110 111 155 166South Korea 148 285 247 472 434 600Other 75 62 83 79 122 118Total 626 798 1 623 1803 1823 2 903Source: Census and Statistics Department (1996).
  45. 45. AUSTRALIAN AQUACULTUREAustralia is a relatively small supplier to the Hong Kong market, providingless than 1 per cent of total imports in 1995 (table 28). The major suppliers tothe Hong Kong market are Canada, Korea, Japan and China.While the Japanese market is relatively large, with total imports of live, fresh,chilled or frozen oysters of 8625 tonnes (product weight) in 1995, the marketis dominated by supplies from Korea. In 1995, Korea supplied 88 per cent oftotal Japanese oyster imports (Japan Tariff Association 1995). For Australianproducers, the prospects for expansion into the Japanese market will probablybe limited to supplying quality product into niche sectors in the market.OutlookPotential production in the New South Wales and Queensland oyster industriesis limited by lease space and efficiency. In Queensland there has been noincrease in area available for lease in recent years and leaseholders are beingencouraged to find more efficient ways of utilising existing leases. Similarly,in New South Wales it is expected that no new leases will be granted for oysterproduction. Current development is directed toward finding more efficientways of using lease space - for example, through deep water culturetechniques.In New South Wales there is a large number of permit holders. However,around 80 per cent of the harvest is grown by about 20 per cent of permitholders. In 1996, new oyster growing permits were issued with more stringentrequirements and the costs associated with holding a permit increased. Thesedevelopments may lead to a restructuring of the industry.In South Australia there are a number of applications for oyster leases awaitingconsideration. Ten to fifteen new leases can he expected. It is unlikely that allof these will be able to be fully developed within the next five years. However,total production could reach 4000 tonnes by 2000 (South AustralianDevelopment Council 1995).In Tasmania, production of Pacific oysters is expected to increase during thenext two years, with potential for further increases if suitable sites areidentified and developed. The availability of additional sites for culture is tobe dealt with under the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995. This Act, declaredin May 1996, sets up a planning process which should ease the problem ofrestricted availability of new sites by identifying suitable areas aroundTasmania (Tasmanian Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries 1996).

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