aquaculture species

CSIRO aquaculture research is developing quality products from healthy, genetically-superior animals raised on sustainable feeds.

Advancing Australian aquaculture

The Food Futures Flagship links research and industry partners in projects that raise the value and competitiveness of Australian aquaculture.

  • 13 November 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011

In 2005-06, Australia’s aquaculture industry increased its gross value by 18 per cent to A$748 million and accounted for more than one-third of Australia’s total seafood production.

Continued industry expansion relies on research that fosters the development of quality products from healthy, genetically-superior animals raised on efficient, sustainable feeds.

Breeding the best

CSIRO has pioneered selective breeding in Australia for:

  • prawns
  • Pacific oysters
  • abalone
  • Atlantic salmon.

The Food Futures Flagship has ongoing partnerships with these industries.

Selective breeding programs enhance:

  • growth rates
  • disease resistance
  • feed-conversion efficiency
  • product quality.

Typical performance gains in aquaculture species are in the range of 5–10 per cent per generation.

Our scientists work with industry partners on the design, development and on-farm uptake of breeding programs.

This involves:

  • establishing pedigreed foundation stocks
  • systems for performance measurement and data management
  • breeding strategies that maximise economic returns.

Genetic and reproductive technologies being applied to support selective breeding include:

  • DNA pedigreeing
  • molecular markers to identify genes of commercial importance
  • gender and chromosome manipulation.

Efficient, sustainable feeds

Aquaculture species have complex nutritional requirements.

Farming them profitably requires low-waste feeds that are cost-effective and sustainable.

To supplement limited supplies of fishmeal and fish oil in aquaculture diets, scientists are evaluating terrestrial and alternative marine-based proteins and oils, including those from:

Sustainable development requires finding alternative oil and protein sources for aquaculture feeds.
  • microalgae
  • bacteria
  • zooplankton.

Associated research is examining feed-formulation techniques, the production implications of using alternative protein sources and links between genetics and nutrition.

Health management

The Food Futures Flagship promotes aquatic animal health through research that aims to identify, understand and manage pathogens, and to improve the resistance of aquaculture species to stress factors and disease.

Projects in partnership with Tasmanian Atlantic salmon producers are employing vaccination and selective-breeding strategies to tackle amoebic gill disease, a costly health problem for the industry.

Keeping an eye on quality

The breeding, health and nutrition research is undertaken with a close eye on product quality.

This requires understanding and measuring quality in terms of consumer preference and human nutrition, and its improvement through breeding programs and production systems.

Our staff

Our aquaculture research is carried out by staff from:

  • CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
  • CSIRO Livestock Industries
  • CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences
  • Food Science Australia

Find out how the Food Futures Flagship is developing captive breeding techniques for Improving tiger prawn farming.

  • The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Aquafin and Seafood Cooperative Research Centres co-invest in CSIRO aquaculture research.