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Australian Aquaculture – Benefits, Cons & Processes

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Aquaculture – A Sustainable Alternative To Overfishing

Aquaculture answers an issue that has come with the increasing demand for seafood – ‘With more people to feed, where do we source the product from?’. Like farms for livestock, Aquaculture allows various species of fish, shellfish and plants to be raised in ponds, open water cages or tank systems.

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Aquaculture allows Australians to produce and farm marine animals and plants in an ecologically sustainable manner instead of catching wild fish and potentially damaging their natural habitats.

This practice is a fast-growing industry with the power to revolutionise the way humans obtain their seafood. While it has had a dip in growth during the COVID-19 period, it is predicted to rise as demand for international seafood increases steadily.

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Australia And The Fishing Industry

The amount of seafood (edible and non-edible) produced in Australia averages at about 230,000 tonnes each year at a value of $2.4 billion per annum. Aquaculture contributes about a third of this.

Growing global populations has put strain on farmers to improve their annual yield to meet high production demands; all while managing new environmental laws and restrictions. Aquaculture can still be classified as a fledgling industry, though one with more sustainability than commercial fishing.

How Aquaculture Can Correct The Damages Of Over Fishing

Commercial fishing has become a giant industry and one that has repercussions on the environment. Excessive fishing combined with growing global demand has pushed wild fish stocks to unsustainable levels. Now, it is believed that 40% of popular fish species are being caught at unsustainable rates. Meaning they are being caught at a faster rate than they have to reproduce and replenish. Aquaculture offers a solution to establish a supply of seafood that can more easily match national and global growth.

Modern marine farming allows fish farmers to breed and raise livestock in confined areas, while still providing them with the necessary conditions and nutrients to thrive. While the economic benefits are great, aquaculture also has high environmental merit. By increasing the supply of sustainable fish, shellfish and plants, the numbers naturally existing in the wild are under less pressure by fisheries. At the base, humans aren’t the only group that need fish as a food source. Whole ecosystems are reliant on a balance of native species. Aquaculture prevents excessive fishing and allows natural stock to level out.

Farmed species in aquaculture centres will level out buyer prices as there will be less fluctuation in availability. Meaning seafood prices are less likely to drop and spike because aquaculture stock is more consistent than fishing from the oceans or rivers.

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Aquaculture Recovery Prediction

While aquaculture was one of the fastest-growing primary industries in Australia, it suffered a substantial decline in the COVID-19 timeline. The value of fisheries and aquaculture production in 2020-21 is expected to drop to $2,94 billion, down 6% from the 2019-20 period. This fall was largely caused by disruptions to domestic and international market conditions, measures to address the spread of COVID-19 and changing consumer demands.

Still, the decline has reached its worst and is forecast to recover gradually over the coming few years. By the years 2025-26, aquaculture is forecast to become the primary source of harvesting seafood – accounting for 55% of the gross value of production, with the remaining 45% coming from wild-caught fish. For those years, the gross value of production is predicted to be $3.21 billion.

Pros And Cons Of Aquaculture
Pros:

  • Protects local fish species and natural habitats
  • Supports the economy
  • Has potential for significant growth
  • Stable supply of food
  • Jobs for local workers
  • Lower prices for fish
  • Manageable way to meet growing food demands

Cons

  • When done incorrectly can harm the environment
  • Increased harvesting of smaller fish for farm feed
  • Damaging to the commercial fishing industry
  • Ecosystem changes if fish escape into the surrounding water system

Areas Aquafarmers Must Be Cautious Of

Though aquaculture seems to be glowing with potential, there are downsides and concerns tied to the industry. Aquaculture centres in open waters or coastal areas can transfer disease and parasites to migrating fish. Also, fecal matter can pollute water systems because of the highly concentrated amounts of fish.

Raising farmed fish takes a lot of resources. The husbandry of predatory fish depends on high-nutrient feed. For example, salmon are fed pellets made from other fish such as sardines. In some cases, wild fish are being caught to feed farmed fish, which does not correct the issue it set out to do.

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Get Your Aquaculture System Right With Global

Global’s roto-moulded aquaculture tanks are perfect for any kind of agricultural work. They’re made from UV resistant, durable, non-reactive polyethylene plastic; so they don’t break down and release harmful byproducts into the environment.

We supply a range of circular tanks in 2000 litre, 3000 litre and 5000 litres, which are suitable for fish, chemicals and fertigation. Our circular polyethylene aquaculture tanks are used in flow-through hatchery systems which help re-circulate clean water through the aquaculture tanks. This means you maintain higher oxygen levels for improved fish health and growth rates. To top it off, the smooth, fish-friendly surface reduces fin and scale damage and infections. Want to do aquaculture right? Contact us today.