Kel Gordon's new sci fi adventure
Today I was approached to sell the Whiting IP on commercial research to an overseas consortium. I have offered to give it to the Aussie prawn farmers currently struggling with disease issues if somebody like Qld Fisheries picks up my consultancy tab…
Looks like Whiting research work is going to the Middle East. It is so common for Australia to sell out its commercial advantage.
The current turmoil in prawn aquafarming is a real worry. From my educated point of view the industry, effected by introduced disease issues, has hit the proverbial wall. There is a lack of commercial solutions and the proposal to adapt the farms to total quarantine and isolation is so far from reality it beggars belief.
Apart from being impossible to implement on a commercial scale the cost of physical isolation runs easily into millions. One would think such a folly is uncommercial to even consider and yet apparently total farm isolation is Qd Fisheries Research best suggestion/guess. This is an example of exactly why Australia is going down the drain.
Prawn production in Qld averages about 10 tonne per Ha per year. A 40 Ha farm would be expected to produce 400 tonne at $14,000 per tonne. This is a yearly total gross of $5.6 million. To totally quarantine the same size farm would be well over $10,000,000 to totally cover and physically isolate the ponds and indeed the water and water exchange. One stray pelican or cormorant or a water filtration issue can and will easily destroy what works in theory for the plebs at Fisheries Research. No person or business, on the planet has ever achieved such large scale farming isolation. Indeed other countries would have more common sense than to even consider such a folly.
So… The ponds are there. Why not just rotate the crop with Whiting? It is a really simply solution. Actually it is a highly productive commercial solution.
Below is a Whiting Aquafarming example applied to the same 40 Ha Farm as above.
Whiting can be farmed at 30 tonne per Ha but let’s do the figures based on 20 tonne per Ha, as a safety measure for farmers not versed in fish production.
At 20 tonne per Ha the total production is 800 tonne per 9 months so for 12 months the total production would be up around 1000 tonnes. Whiting can be cultured and harvested all-year-round. So, at $8 per kilogram, at the farm gate, that is a yearly gross of $8,000,000. Quite the bottom line for an existing farm with nowhere to go. Then, once the farmer is experienced with the process the farming density can be increased by 33%... And,,, unlike prawn production Whiting production cash flow can be monthly or weekly.
Whiting do very well in the existing prawn aquafarming infrastructure.
They require less, about 50% less, of artificial pellet feed and about 50% less
of the electricity consumption necessary to provide aeration. Hatchery production
of Whiting is higher as it runs all year but I think the offset adds to a greater
net profit. In all my work in aquafarming, since 1984, I have not experienced
a more suited species for pond culture, fresh or saltwater. And just as a bonus,
cormorants can’t catch them.
So the financial bottom line has a higher percentage of profit. Whiting is a very simple alternative and yet the advice to the farmers is invest in quarantine works that will send the industry into bankruptcy.
The NSW Sydney Rock Oyster Industry all over again! And never forget the Wallis Lake incident where science advice was that the entire lake was contaminated with Hepatitis. Do not take advise from Fisheries Research or anyone else that does not do the work themselves.
The entire Whiting research has been done and proven. I stand by that comment. Broodstock management, hatchery application/breeding, nursery production and pond culture. They have all been addressed on a commercial scale. And yet today someone tells me the best option is farm isolation and quarantine.
Australian aquafarming is already considered a joke by overseas interests. It is my opinion the rot lies with the standards of research and information passed on by "supporting" government fisheries research. This is not the work of the prawn farmers. Who else would be so stupid as to advise total isolation of aquatic farm production?
Answer: Those who are not farmers and those who lack the need for continual commercial outcomes as a way of life and indeed continued survival. Farmers don’t get $300,000 a year and they don’t sit in an air-conditioned office and dictate stupidity bundled up as commercial application.
Kel Gordon's new sci fi adventure