Salmon, Ocean Trout, Shellfish
The cool, clean Southern Ocean encircles Tasmania, providing one of the world’s healthiest environments for the raising of succulent shellfish and table fish of delicate flavour. Aquaculture comes naturally to Tasmanians. They have 3200km of relatively unpolluted coastline. They have developed world-class handling methods; sophisticated quality-assurance and transport systems; and they have excellent research back-up. Atlantic salmon, sea-raised trout, Pacific oysters and blue mussels are big business. Abalone farms are multiplying and good progress has been made with sea horses. Likely future successes will include rock lobster, stripey trumpeter, short-finned eels, clams, sea dragons and the introduced edible seaweed, Undaria.
With the growth of aquaculture, especially since the mid-1980s, Tasmanians have developed expertise in a range of related manufacturing and research activities. Local operators have a reputation for flexibility and a capacity to use a lateral approach to problem-solving. One prominent Australian fish-farmer says: “If I have a problem I go to Tasmania. Businesses there have an old-fashioned approach and don't restrict themselves by being inflexibly specialised.”
Private operators are supported by a Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture of Finfish (Aquafin). The centre is a $70 million joint venture between industry, universities, Australian and state governments. It operates on the Hobart campus of the University of Tasmania and has research expertise in:
- hatchery technology
- feed development
- food technology
- environmental management
- fish physiology
- disease diagnosis
- health maintenance
- grow-out technology
The project provides 10 post-doctoral and 20 PhD programs focused on
The marine farming sector has been through a period of rapid growth and business rationalisation. Atlantic salmon dominates the value of the sector, but Pacific oysters (and to a lesser extent blue mussels) are growing in economic importance.