Most of Australia’s aquaculture industry is concentrated on salmon and produced in Tasmania. However, the sector is starting to diversify and produce other fish species in new farming regions, according to Billund Aquaculture Australia’s CEO, Patrick Tigges, who attended WA2023. The event took place in Darwin, Australia from May 29 - June 1 and was organized by the World Aquaculture Society.
Throughout the four-day event, Billund Aquaculture met with potential clients and representatives from some of the projects it has designed and implemented in Australasia.
The next new salmon
“Due to climate conditions, open-ocean salmon farming is limited to Tasmania and cannot be reproduced anywhere else in the country. Australia is now looking at one or two other species and developing them to diversify the market and hopefully achieve the same success as salmon,” Tigges said.
Jade Perch (Scortum barcoo) could be one of those species, as along with Silver (Bidyanus bidyanus) and Gold Perch (Macquaria ambigua), Mulloway (Argyrosomus japonicus), Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii) and Black Jewfish (Epinephelus nigritus). Meanwhile, Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi) and Barramundi (Lates calcarifer) are already being farmed on an industrial scale and could help diversify the industry. “Will it be Barramundi, Yellowtail Kingfish or Jade Perch? All we can do is continue supporting the industry and offering our best technological solutions,” Tigges said.
Moreover, the Australian government, private companies, universities, and research institutes are apparently all on the same wavelength, showing significant interest in developing aquaculture and producing other fish species.
Food safety & environmental advantages
Another encouraging aspect of WA2023 was the interest shown by other Southwest Asian countries in Australian aquaculture. “Consumers in Asia seems to love Australian produce. It is all about food safety,” Tigges said.
“Many Asian countries lack the space to set up a big farm nor have they been as careful as Australia in controlling pollution. Australia is well known for protecting its extensive natural areas. Therefore, the good quality of Australian produce is almost seen as a trademark.” he added. In fact, according to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the country exports around 72% of the total value of agricultural, fisheries and forestry production.
The executive also stressed the importance of controlling all environmental variables before investing millions in new projects. “And that is the main driver for our RAS technologies,” he said.
An increasingly important industry
According to Tigges, there is a general consensus that aquaculture is high on Australia’s agenda, and the country is actively encouraging its development. However, Australians are not the only ones interested in the industry’s growth. Many European aquaculture suppliers were also present at WA2023 in Darwin and have partnered with different suppliers and equipment providers in Australia.
Finally, Tigges said that having a regular aquaculture trade fair would be a very much needed boost to promoting aquaculture in the country.