Northern Australia’s aquaculture sector set to grow fivefold by 2030: new CRCNA report

The ‘Northern Australian aquaculture situational analysis’ report, released by the CRCNA on 28 May 2020, found that over the next decade, the region’s aquaculture industry is expected to produce more than five times its current volume of fish, prawns and other seafood products.

This growth will create 2,340 new jobs at various skill levels, found the report – provided that ‘industry collaborates to overcome the identified challenges and capitalise on the opportunities outlined in the study’.

The solutions-focused research, led by James Cook University (JCU), is the first to articulate a vision for the entire Northern Australian aquaculture industry.

“Our best-case scenario, outlined in this report, is based on better utilisation of the available areas for expansion and growth of onshore and offshore facilities,” JCU professor Dean Jerry said.

“A more coordinated approach across the sector is needed to support stronger biosecurity protocols and infrastructure investment, good RD&E and production outcomes, strong marketing efforts and an increase in global demand to fully realise our 2030 vision.”

The research team engaged with 400-plus industry players from across the sector, including those from Indigenous communities, to produce the detailed report.

Collaboration with the region’s traditional owners is key to a successful future for aquaculture in the Top End, it contends, with indigenous Australians currently managing 45 per cent of land and sea territory across Northern Australia.

Report recommendations

The report makes seven key recommendations:

  • bolster biosecurity;
  • build skills to meet industry growth needs;
  • encourage market development and access;
  • match and target RD&E to key industry needs and outcomes;
  • facilitate infrastructure development for key ‘aquaculture development hubs’;
  • build the Northern Australian aquaculture industry as a way for Indigenous communities to achieve greater economic development and independence; and
  • work towards stronger and adaptive governance of the Northern Australian aquaculture industry.

Sources: Aquaculture industry set to be a boon for North’s economy I James Cook University (JCU); Aquaculture industry to exceed $1.34bn within decade I Food&Drink Business News