What are the Economic Prospects of Developing Aquaculture in Queensland to Supply the Low Price White Fillet Market? Lessons from the US Channel Catfish Industry Lyster, Thorbjorn

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Lyster, Thorbjorn
Aquaculture - Queensland - Economic aspects.; Teraponid species; Applied Economics (1402)
The farming of channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is the largest (by volume and value) and most successful (in terms of market impact) aquaculture industry in the United States of America. Farmed channel catfish is the most consumed (in terms of volume per capita) fish fillet in the U.S. market. Within Australia, it has long been suggested by researchers and industry that silver perch (Bidyanus bidyanus) and possibly other endemic teraponid species possess similar biological attributes for aquaculture as channel catfish and may have the potential to generate a similar industry. The current teraponid industry in Australia, however, shows very little resemblance to the catfish industry, either in production style or market philosophy. A well established budget framework from the literature on U.S. channel catfish farming has been adapted for cost and climate conditions of the Burdekin region, Queensland, Australia. Breakeven prices for the hypothetical teraponid farms were found to be up to 50% higher than those published for catfish farms however were much lower than those reported for silver perch production in Australia using current, endemic styles of production. The breakeven prices for the hypothetical teraponid farms were most sensitive (in order of significance) to feed prices, production rates, interest rates, fingerling prices and electricity prices. At equivalent feed costs the costs of production between the hypothetical catfish farms in the Mississippi, U.S. and the hypothetical teraponid farms in the Burdekin, Australia were remarkably similar. The cost of feeds suitable for teraponid production in Australia are currently around double that of catfish feeds in the U.S. Issues currently hindering the development of a large scale teraponid industry in Australia are discussed.
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