Barramundi aquaculture is a maturing industry in Australia with the majority of producers based in Queenland, although there is also significant production in SA and NT. Annual production is over 2,500 tons per annum with a value exceeding $23 Million. Most producers in Australia are currently supplied with fingerlings from several major hatcheries.
Due to infrastructure constraints and a lack of training in the genetics of broodstock maintenance it is likely that these hatcheries spawn a small number of broodfish and do not keep pedigree records with the result that future generations of broodstock will represent a small proportion of the available gene pool. Loss of genetic variance and inbreeding depression effects on fitness are likely to impact negatively on production within just a few generations if these practices continue.
Barramundi (otherwise known as Asian sea bass when produced outside Australia) is now produced by many countries around the world. Competition is increasing and Australian producers need to improve efficiencies while producing a consistent high quality product.
The aim of this project is to plan the development of a selective breeding program for the species.
The key issues we will address are as follows:
- Detailed methodology for the program (practicality and costs)
- Breeding objectives and traits
- Risks and risk management
- Key researchable constraints
- Cost-benefits of alternative models for running the program
- Commercialisation of the program (investment, pricing, returns to shareholders)
- Where and how (facilities- public, private, leased or owned)?