Aquaculture overview transcript
Commentary: Victoria boasts some of the world's finest and most sought after seafood. It has an excellent reputation based on its reliable supply of quality produce grown in clean water.
While some of the fish you buy from the market are wild caught, an increasing amount comes from fish farming. This type of farming is called aquaculture and globally it now accounts for almost 50% of all edible seafood.
Aquaculture provides millions of people around the world with food and sustains livelihoods through nutrition and employment while fuelling economic development in many countries.
Victoria grows a wide range of aquaculture species and this video will provide a brief overview of the main sectors.
Mussels are a popular and affordable bivalve mollusc favoured around the world for their culinary versatility. Victorian mussel farmers grow this shellfish in Aquaculture Reserves in Port Phillip and Western Port Bay. Mussels are grown on ropes suspended in the water column and feed by filtering alga from the surrounding water. Victorian mussels are typically sold alive as opposed to the processed mussels which often come from overseas. Mussel farming is one of the most sustainable forms of aquaculture as it doesn't require additional feed and the mussels grow in their natural environment.
Abalone is a high value mollusc that resembles a marine snail and is found along Victoria's coastline. Farmers produce abalone in coastal farms, primarily around Geelong and Victoria's south-west. Farmed abalone are grown in long rectangular or circular tanks with seawater flowing through them. Abalone is sold domestically primarily ending up in the restaurant trade and also exported, with Asia being the biggest market.
Rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon belong to the Salmonid family and are popular for eating and recreational fishing. Salmonids are grown in the cooler alpine regions of NE Victoria and in the southern highlands as fish production requires cool, clear river water to be diverted into the farm ponds and raceways. Rainbow trout is the main species produced and is primarily sold through the domestic market as fresh, frozen or smoked product. Some fish are used to stock public waters and private farm dams for recreational fishing. Value added production based on Atlantic Salmon eggs continues to be a growing market for some farmers.
Not all fish produced through aquaculture are destined for the table. Keeping fish as pets is a popular activity and these fish are often produced by farmers who specialise in breeding ornamental species.
The ornamental fish industry in Australia is conservatively valued at around $350 million.
Ornamental fish, like goldfish and many other species of tropical fish, are popular amongst hobbyists and pet owners. Victoria is one of Australia's largest producers of goldfish with this product being sold into the domestic wholesale and retail pet trade.
Most of Victoria's Murray cod is grown by an emerging sector that stocks fish in floating pens in large irrigation dams. This iconic species grows quickly and is a popular eating fish. With irrigation water becoming an increasingly scarce and valuable resource, growing Murray cod enables existing farmers to diversify their enterprise and get two uses out of the same water supply. The water is then re-used to irrigate more traditional agricultural crops in orchards and vineyards.
Eels are a popular food in Europe and Asia with the product finding its way onto local restaurant tables in various forms including the popular smoked eel. Eel aquaculture in Victoria sees juveniles harvested from rivers in the wild and stocked into inland lakes or private farms to be grown until they reach a marketable size.
As this video has shown, Victorian farmers grow a wide range of freshwater and marine species.
The sustainable development of Victorian aquaculture will continue to create new opportunities to invest in regional communities and contribute to a vibrant and healthy economy.