19 Jul 2013
Australian abalone farmers look set to save up to $2.5 million every year by switching to a new high-protein feed.
The breakthrough by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) scientists in better meeting the nutritional needs of farmed abalone promises to lift productivity.
Anton Krsinich, CEO of Australia’s largest Abalone farm Great Southern Waters in Victoria, said “I have seen an eight to 10 per cent increase in growth rate with the experimental diet. It is better than I expected, and represents savings of $350,000 for my farm every year.”
“This type of research is critical to get the costs of production down and to keep Australian abalone farmers internationally competitive.”
It will help producers meet rising demand for the premium seafood in high-value markets including China, South East Asia and the United States.
Australia’s abalone exports currently weigh in at about 700 tonnes a year, with a farmgate value of $24.5 million.
The project is funded by the Australian Seafood CRC and Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and supported by the State Government initiative Marine Innovation Southern Australia (MISA).
SARDI scientist Dr David Stone said the project started last year with trials on the nutritional needs of abalone during their 30-month production cycle.
“The laboratory-based trials confirmed that the protein requirements for abalone varied with both age and seasonal changes in water temperature,” Dr Stone said.
“The results so far are right on target of achieving a 10 per cent improvement in abalone growth rates, which eliminates about three months from the usual production cycle.”