Biosecurity risk management in the NSW aquaculture industry

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in collaboration with Monash University (through BehaviourWorks Australia) and in consultation with aquaculture permit holders across NSW, are undertaking a social research project; the Resilient Aquaculture Industries in NSW project.

What is this project about?

There is ongoing threat of disease outbreaks in the NSW aquaculture industry given a number of endemic pathogens (e.g. QX in Sydney Rock Oysters) and exotic incursions (e.g. White Spot in farmed prawns).

Preparing for an unknown emergency event is a complex task, and preparedness is key to recover from a biosecurity threat. Previous outbreaks throughout the aquaculture industry in NSW have observed a contrast between individual aquaculture permit holders’ ability to bounce-back to a pre-disease state in terms of productivity and business success.

The project aims to better understand what assistance DPI can provide and, based on these insights, will develop the appropriate tools to assist NSW aquaculture industries prepare for, prevent and respond to a disease outbreak.

What does this project involve?

The project will be delivered in three stages.

Stage 1 – aquaculture industry insights. One on one interviews (qualitative) and an online survey (quantitative) with the aquaculture farmers to understand current biosecurity management practices, experiences, and any challenges.

Stage 2 – development of resources. Insights from the interviews and the online survey will  be used to design and implement aquaculture industry workshops and support the development of aquaculture biosecurity management resources and tools.

Stage 3 – online follow-up survey. A follow-up survey and project review will help to understand if the developed resources have been helpful, how current biosecurity management practices have changed since the project began and suggest scope for adaptation and expansion.

Outcomes of the project will inform the establishment of a Program to support the resilience of the NSW aquaculture industry. The Program will focus on  industry preparedness,  emergency incident response and recovery. This will include the development of guidance materials to help the industry plan for an Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) event, understand what to expect if an EAD is detected on their property, and what processes they need to have in place to ensure an efficient and effective recovery in the event of one.

Would you like to participate?We are currently working on Stage 1 of this project. The anonymous online survey is currently open for input from NSW aquaculture farmers. You can share your experiences and opinions about biosecurity risk management here:

The Survey closes on 28 November 2021.