Queensland covers more than 173 million hectares. Of that almost 144 million hectares (or 83%) of the land area is used for agriculture. One in seven Queenslanders was either partly or entirely supported by the food sector in 2012-14.
The Aquaculture Forecast
The GVP ( gross Value of Production) for Queensland’s aquaculture industry for 2015–16 is forecast to be $104 million, 6% greater than the average for the past 5 year.
'Ag Trends' released the Estimates and Forecasts report based on information available in August and September 2015, which the following statistics are from.
Analysis and discussion
Prawn farming remains the largest sector of the Queensland aquaculture industry. This sector is expecting a slight increase in production from the previous season, and the farm-gate value of prawns is predicted to reach $73 million, a 1.3% increase on DAF’s estimate of $72 million for 2014–15.
Barramundi farming, the second largest sector, is expected to increase production from the previous season. The sector is predicted to achieve a value of about $26.0 million, a 13% increase on DAF’s estimate of $23 million for 2014–15.
The freshwater fish sector (primarily silver perch, Murray cod and jade perch) is expected to be valued at $2.4 million, an 11% decrease on DAF’s estimate of $2.7 million for 2014–15.
Red claw production is expected to decrease while the oyster and hatchery sectors are expected to increase slightly on production levels achieved in 2014–15.
To maintain these figures and increase production, covering aquaculture farms is imperative. Lindsay Adams, the manager for structures , explained that existing customers have been surprised at the increase in fish stocks and realised the damage that predatory birds have done to stock levels, before netting, once their structures are in place.
There is no 'one solution for every situation' but there can be a combination of strategies that will solve the issues that arise for the aquaculture sector.
The range of canopy netting requirements, from bat and bird netting to repel predatory birds, and shade net to reduce evaporation, and regulate water temperature are some of the most pressing considerations for many farmers.
The installation of side netting stops the erosion that wind creates, around ponds and dams and also prevents fouling caused by animals accessing the water.
Tunnels that completely enclose farms and hatcheries can also be an option.