NSW helps lead the way on the future of Australian seafood

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will play a major role in a Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) which aims to increase supply and the value of seafood to meet increasing demands.

DPI Senior Research Scientist, Dr Wayne O’Connor said the CRC has been formed after two years of intensive collaboration between the seafood industry, government agencies and research providers.

“In total 39 companies, industry bodies, research institutions and government agencies across the country have pledged their cash or in-kind support to the $135 million programme.

“NSW DPI is one of the three main players in the Seafood CRC which would come as no surprise given our international reputation for excellence in aquaculture research and development,” Mr Macdonald said.

The Australian seafood industry is the sixth most valuable of Australia’s food based primary industries, with a gross value of production of $2.05 billion in 2004/05.

Dr O’Connor said the benefits to Australia and NSW would be great.

“The main benefit of the CRC to NSW will be increased supply and value of seafood to meet increasing demands as the population grows and, more importantly as the health benefits of seafood are increasingly recognised.

“The increases will come from greater aquaculture production, improved supply chain management and increased public awareness of the benefits of seafood.”

The NSW per capita consumption of seafood is increasing rapidly – over 15kg per person per year. With supply from wild caught fisheries decreasing, to help ensure sustainability, aquaculture production needs to increase in order to meet the growing demand.

“The Seafood CRC will concentrate on a number of key areas in NSW including, improving the value and production of oysters, developing commercial inland saline aquaculture, adding value to irrigation water used for cotton farming in NSW by producing a crop of fish before it is used on crops, developing marine fish aquaculture and improving the supply chain and management to overcome problems with quality assurance and distribution,” Dr O’Connor said.