Going The Big Prawn: Collaboration To Boost Numbers
Federal Science Minister Peter McGauran today announced that the largest prawn aquaculture research collaboration in
Australian history has begun on the black tiger prawn, the most widely farmed and valuable prawn species in the world.
In the middle of National Science Week, Mr McGauran said some of Australia's leading researchers were bringing
world-class science to the dinner table.
"This is science everyone can understand," Mr McGauran said.
"Working together to develop innovative solutions to problems that impact on the daily lives of all Australians. Under
this project we can expect a higher quality and more reliable supply of farmed prawns in future years."
The $5.5 million project is being carried out by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), two divisions of
CSIRO and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries. It's being funded over three years by the Fisheries Research
and Development Corporation (FRDC) with support from the Australian Prawn Farmers Association (APFA) and the country's
leading prawn farm enterprises.
"This is a great example of how collaboration between key agencies and industry can bring together the best minds and
resources across the sector to provide real solutions that will provide for the long-term sustainability of Australia's
seafood industry," Mr McGauran said.
Sustainable aquaculture is an issue that was raised at the eighth meeting of the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering
and Innovation Council in May, with an independent working group presenting a paper on the issue.
"The rapidly expanding prawn farming industry has identified the domestication of black tiger prawns as critical to its
future competitiveness," Mr McGauran said.
"Currently the black tiger prawn farm industry relies on harvesting wild broodstock from the ocean to supply eggs. This
is a major bottleneck because broodstock of the black tiger prawn is rare in the wild, and supplies already may be
threatened in many countries due to over-harvesting, destruction of nursery habitat, seasonal variations in abundance
and disease problems.
"The Australian collaboration will focus on overcoming this weak link in the prawn farming industry. This is the largest
and most coordinated research project done on the black tiger prawn in Australia and it will have major implications for
the development of the prawn farming industry in this country."