Aquaculture prawn farming began in the 1980’s with most farms being located on flat land adjacent to sea water sources, such as tidal rivers or creeks.
Prawn farms require temperatures above 25º C during productions season; therefore currently 95% of farms are located in Queensland and 5% in NSW.
Total land currently used for production is in excess of 900 hectares and clusters of farms can be found on the Logan River, Mackay, Bundaberg, Townsville, Cairns and Yamba NSW. One of the biggest farms produces prawns all year round whilst the other farms produce one crop per annum and harvesting is usually completed by the end of April each year.
It takes approximately 6 months for prawns to grow to harvesting size and most of the prawns are sold domestically in Australia. Processing is carried out as soon as harvested with most farms having their own production facilities that include grading, cooking, packaging and freezing.
Prawn farming is Queensland’s largest aquaculture sector providing the equivalent of 300 full-time jobs mostly in rural communities; production figures for the 2009-2010 year are predicted to be as high as 5,000 tonnes that will equate to an annual value of approximately $80 million.
Prawn Species – farmed are currently the black tiger prawn Penaeus monodon and the banana prawn Fenneropenaeus merguiensis, the kurama prawn Penaeus japonicas has been farmed in the past.
Being a farmer – (1) is high risk, capital-intensive, site specific and requires technical expertise. You must be prepared to work long hours and must be able to understand and manage sudden changes in conditions that can occur at any hour of the day or night. Managers must have a firm hand on risk management, marketing and liaison with various government bodies.
(1) “Australian Prawn Farming Manual Health Management for profit”, (2006) DPI&F.
EARLY HISTORY OF PRAWN AND BARRAMUNDI FARMING IN AUSTRALIA
How it all started and who were the pioneers….