Aquatic Health and Production

aquaculture production pond
Aquaculture production ponds
biosensors on oysters
Biosensors on oysters
agd salmon gills
Amoebic gill disease research
Tagging to monitor individuals
health prawns
Production variation in prawns

Declining natural fish populations, combined with a growing global demand for high quality protein, has seen aquaculture production grow rapidly both in Australia and abroad. Disease and increasing production cost have been identified as major hurdles for aquaculture development globally. In Australia, amoebic gill disease (AGD) and recently the outbreaks of Pilchard orthomyxovirus (POMV) have resulted in losses of $20 million annually for the salmonid aquaculture industry. Similar examples include white spot disease outbreak in Southeast Queensland or Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) in New South Wales.To maintain and create further benefits for our nation through the growth of aquaculture, the impact of disease must be minimised.

Our research delivers critical scientific investigations and innovations to ultimately safeguard and mitigate the impact of disease in Australian and abroad, while ensuring animal welfare is maximised. We address these research areas using multi-disciplinary approaches and utilise our purpose built salmon research facility, along with modern molecular and biochemistry laboratories. CSIRO has been a world leader in AGD research for more than 30 years. We work collaboratively with our industry partners to improve and develop innovative management strategies to control disease outbreaks using a model-based approach. We are also creating impact on the global prawn farming industry through the development of a highly multiplexed detection system for shrimp/prawn pathogens (Shrimp Multipath) that can detect most commercially relevant pathogens in a single test. This test has substantially reduced the cost of testing for multiple pathogens in a clinical sample. Our team also investigates how non-infectious, environmental factors affect the physiology and health of aquatic animals. Using novel biosensors our team is gaining new insights into how animals respond in real-time to different environmental cues. 

For the culture of any species, appropriate system selection and management is critical for cost-effective and sustainable production. Research on aquaculture Production Systems can be very broad and includes system design and operation, and the monitoring and management of the stock, water quality, feed inputs, microbial communities and wastewater treatment. The Production Systems team has a strong focus on the national and international prawn industry to help meet regulatory requirements and enhance profitability. Our production research involves modelling prawn ponds to provide management software for industry, understanding the relationship between feeding regimes and nutrient flows within ponds and effluent, treatment of pond effluent using bivalves, evaluating the impact of farms on receiving waterways, and intensive nursery systems for juveniles. The application of more advanced technologies within the ponds can also assist with monitoring. Active sonar and imaging have been investigated as novel methods to estimate prawn biomass and monitor uneaten feed and prawn sizes.

With an increase in intensification of the grow-out production across different sectors, the need for novel systems and management protocols, accurate and more automated monitoring, decision support tools and responsible waste management is becoming more and more critical. Currently the Production Systems team is investigating these issues via a high level of cross-CSIRO business unit collaboration on projects that involve expertise in biology, physiology, virology, electrical engineering, sensing technology, machine learning, data mining, software development and augmented reality. 

It is anticipated that future projects will continue to develop more automated production systems through adapting new technologies for monitoring the stock and culture environment, and providing data management with predictive and decision support capabilities. In contrast to a focus on intensifying production, we will also be looking to assist some sectors with improving yields from extensive production systems. There is also a growing need to understand how breeding and nutrition can assist with improving the culture conditions while also minimising waste produced.

For more information on:

Aquatic health research contact Research Group Leader Dr Aaron Ingham

Aquaculture production contact Research Group Leader Dr Cedric Simon