Sustainable Aquaculture

Our research domain focuses on the environmental and socioecological dimensions of aquaculture in Australia and the Indo-Pacific. We provide scientific knowledge, tools, and approaches to support the sustainability of aquatic food industries and livelihoods. Our aim is the future-proofing of coastal-marine food-provisioning systems, by quantifying triple-bottom line impacts, enabling informed management of risks, promoting ecosystem integration, and developing sustainable livelihoods and industries that are informed to mitigate and adapt to impacts.

The 2021 value of the Australian aquaculture sector was approximately $1.73 billion. This is anticipated to increase in coming years, with revenue forecast to grow at an annualised 0.4% through to 2026. The market share of aquaculture is expected to reach more than 60% of the gross value of production (GVP) of Australia’s overall seafood industries in the next 3 years.

CSIRO possesses substantial R&D expertise in aquaculture, providing significant economic and trade benefits. This expertise includes consulting, equipment and technology, marketing, and research and development opportunities related to restocking, sea ranching, stock enhancement, feeds, breeds, disease diagnostics and aquaponics, to name a few.

This research domain focus on environmental and socioecological dimensions of aquaculture, providing scientific knowledge, tools and approaches needed to develop products and services that support the sustainability of aquaculture industries in Australia and the Indo-Pacific, regarding:

  • future-proofing integrated coastal-marine production systems
  • mitigation and amelioration of environmental impacts to and from the sector, including climate change
  • informed management of environmental risks via integrated whole-of-system modelling, approaches, and tools
  • integration and further understanding of ecosystem processes (biology, physics-biogeochemistry, biosecurity) and use of multi-trophic approaches
  • integrated information platforms supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods and sociocultural license to operate.

Our aim is to contribute to:

  • A resilient environment supporting valuable aquaculture production
  • Greater food security, quality and equity for alternative livelihoods
  • Better health and wellbeing of production systems and supporting ecosystems
  • Development of future industries

Related Research

Indigenous-led Restorative Aquaculture in Torres Strait

We are working with an indigenous entrepreneur from Torres Strait who identified aquaculture as a way to sustainably improve the sea cucumber fishery in response to market demand, fishing and climate pressures. CSIRO is supporting this indigenous-led initiative to establish a sea cucumber aquaculture business in Ugar, which will be the first trial in the region using their natural habitats. This project is truly an Indigenous-led initiative offering an opportunity to ‘close-the-gap’ via supporting an indigenous-led initiative that will bring direct socio-economic benefits to communities and generating research outputs that will be of direct relevance to support the initiative. It also offers an excellent opportunity for CSIRO to learn how to better engage, support and service small-to-medium indigenous-led enterprises. The research is supported by indigenous organisations representing the interests of all fishermen in this Torres Strait fishery.

Capability Profile

Core capabilities:

  • Biological, ecological & biogeochemical observations and modelling
  • Detection, quantitation and fate of microbial pathogens in aquatic environment
  • Epidemiology & environmental health
  • Model development and implementation
  • Data assimilation, integration, delivery and visualization
  • Remote sensing and environmental monitoring
  • Geosciences and spatial planning
  • Indigenous engagement
  • Analysis of food production systems
  • Life-cycle and value/supply chain analysis

Tools we use:

  • Risk assessments and modelling frameworks (ERAEF+, SIMA+, BECRC, etc.)
  • Environmental Modelling Suite EMS (hi-res, near real time)
  • Biophysics and epidemiological modelling
  • Integrated spatial (GIS) and georeferenced tools and approaches
  • Bioeconomic and market and non-market approaches and analyses
  • Integrated socio-cultural and economics tools and approached linked and interactive with EMS and epidemiological models
  • Cultural and socioeconomics novel tools and approaches for indigenous-led and science-based engagements
  • Restoration ecology and decision-support tools and modelling for spatial allocation and investments

Key Contacts

Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Environment

Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Environment

Team Leader – Coastal Biogeochemical Modelling, CSIRO Environment

Other resources