Grant ID

RIRDC PRJ-002273


Australia’s aquaculture industry is predominantly based in rural coastal regions where it makes a significant contribution to local economies as well as to national food security. Over the past decade changing global economic and trade conditions have resulted in Asia supplying an ever-increasing amount of seafood to Australian consumers. From 2003 to 2007 landings of cheaper imported Asian prawns increased dramatically, seriously impacting the eastern Australian prawn farming industry as graphically illustrated by the collapse of prawn farming in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. In response, the Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre researched the feasibility of farming the finfish mulloway or jewfish (Argyrosomus japonicus) as an opportunity for Australian prawn farmers to diversify their production base. In this context, the purpose of this case study was to assess the effect of imported products on the viability of the northern NSW prawn farming industry by reviewing the output and cost structures of a local prawn farm before (2002-2003) and after the influx of competing imports (2006-2007). Secondly, the findings of a two year trial of farming mulloway in ponds on a converted prawn farm are critically evaluated, and possible opportunities are identified. Finally, regional policy implications of the case study are examined and current constraints and limitations to the uptake of mulloway farming in northern NSW are identified.