The Aquaculture Research Unit develops improved aquaculture technologies for existing and new aquaculture industries. Research themes include:
- Hatchery and breeding technologies for oysters and molluscs. A selective breeding program for Sydney rock oysters is designed to improve growth and disease resistance. Other research aims to remove remaining technical constraints to commercial hatchery production.
- Technologies and systems for finfish breeding and farming. Research for marine fish aquaculture aims to reduce hatchery and feed costs for snapper, mulloway and yellowtail kingfish. Australian bass are also bred for restocking programs.
- Fish feeds and feeding. Research on replacement of fishmeal in fish diets with Australian agricultural ingredients, nutritional requirements and feeding strategies.
Key research collaborations
Major R&D (research and development) programs are funded through the Fisheries R&D Corporation; Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Huon Aquaculture, Seafood CRC; Cotton Catchment Communities CRC; Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; and the National Aquaculture Council. Formal industry collaborations are in place with the Select Oyster Company, Southern Cross Shellfish Ltd, United Soybean Board, Ridley Aquafeeds, Australian Seafood Industries, Hunter Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Waratah Power and Energy Australia. University linkages include the Queensland University of Technology, James Cook University, University of NSW, Newcastle University, University of Sunshine Coast, Flinders University, Victoria University, Macquarie University and University of Western Sydney.
Key research infrastructure
The Aquaculture Research Unit uses NSW DPI facilities at Port Stephens and has farms in the Georges River.
Aquaculture Research Advisory Committee
The Aquaculture Research Advisory Committee (ARAC) is a statutory committee that advises the Minister on the amount of contributions payable by the NSW aquaculture industries into trust accounts for aquaculture research and development and the expenditure of those trust funds.
Economic Research into Aquaculture
NSW DPI has conducted economic research anaylsis into the future of the Aquaculture Industry, in particular its effects on NSW primary industries.
Port Stephens Fisheries Centre
Technology and systems for finfish breeding and farming
- Improving methods for hatchery production of Mulloway, Australian bass and Yellowtail Kingfish
- Producing Australian bass and Mulloway for stock enhancement
Feed development for aquaculture species
- Developing and improving diets for fish and prawns
- Currently focused on Mulloway and Yellowtail Kingfish broodstock and growout diets
- Replacing fishmeal with Australian agriculture ingredients
- Producing more cost-effective, environmentally friendly feeds
Hatchery and breeding technologies for oysters and molluscs
- Developing and improving hatchery and nursery techniques for Sydney rock, Pacific, Pearl and Flat oysters, as well as other molluscs (eg. pipis)
- Genetically improving Sydney rock oysters (eg. for disease resistance, faster growth and improved condition)
- Researching the role of algae in the diets of oysters
- Researching the impacts of human activities and climate change on oysters
The Aquaculture Unit has online summaries of its scientific outputs. In some cases the summary has the full outputs available as a PDF which can be downloaded. The scientific outputs are arranged by year of publication.
See a complete list of publications on oysters by NSW DPI staff dating back to 1889.
Find a list of Aquaculture scientists.
The emergency contact number for the Marine Aquaculture Research Lease is 1300 920 987, to be used for any incident involving the sea pens.