Salmonid aquaculture sector transcript

Commentary: Victoria is one of the largest suppliers of freshwater trout to the Australian market with most of the fish produced in Victoria's cool alpine regions, primarily in the upper Goulburn River system.

Large scale commercial trout farming has occurred in Victoria for over 30 years, but trout have been produced in Victoria since the 1870s.

Today's farms range in size from small tourist operations to large farms with many ponds or raceways that produce hundreds of tonnes of fish.

Rainbow trout is the main species produced in Victoria.

Well developed domestic markets exist for trout with product being sold in various forms including chilled, frozen or smoked trout along with other value added products like pates, terrines and trout caviar.

Freshwater trout in Victoria are usually farmed in flow-through raceways or ponds under intensive conditions and fed a commercial pelleted diet.

This type of farming requires a considerable amount of clean, cool water which is usually diverted from an adjacent river.

Farms are licensed by the Environmental Protection Authority to ensure water is appropriately treated prior to discharge.

This water passes through the production system and on to settlement ponds or constructed wetlands, before being discharged back into the river.

As trout is a cold water species, that prefers water temperatures between 10-20 degrees,the frequency of hotter summers is proving to be a challenge for the industry.

However, continuous improvement in production techniques and environmental management will help industry adapt to these challenges with some farms using oxygen injection and deeper raceways to cope with increasing summer temperatures.

While the industry faces some significant challenges, salmonids have been in Victoria for well over 100 years and with some good planning and research will continue to be an important part of the Victorian aquaculture industry.