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2011/766.01 Biofloc: A consultation on the need for and scope of an extension program for the Australian prawn farming industry
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2011/766.01 Biofloc: A consultation on the need for and scope of an extension program for the Australian prawn farming industry



By Annette Conn

The Smith and West 2009 biofloc research (Seafood CRC Project No 2009/748) is considered to have significant implications for the Australian prawn industry. To ensure that the Seafood CRC extension initiative delivers the largest possible benefit for industry, the Seafood CRC agreed to facilitate a detailed consultation with Australian prawn farming industry stakeholders to identify concepts for future extension activities.


The scope of the consultation also included making contact with the Australian Prawn Farmers Association (APFA) to obtain feedback on the potential for biofloc technology (BFT) implementation in Barramundi production systems. The consultation process was carried out between November and December 2011 and during this period 26 farm operators and industry stakeholders were contacted and interviews conducted.


Despite its successful adoption by the producer ‘Australian Prawn Farms’ and the reported benefits to farm productivity most Australian prawn farmers regard BFT with reserved interest as a prospective but complex, potentially costly and as yet unproven production tool. The consultation has determined that the Australian prawn farming industry has the capacity to develop the technical resources and appropriate infrastructure required for BFT system adoption.


However over a third of industry operators do not yet feel that they have enough understanding of biofloc dynamics to confidently commit to trials and subsequent adoption.


It is clear that any extension process to the Smith and West 2009 research must begin by increasing operator knowledge of the fundamentals of BFT dynamics to give operators the skill level and confidence to initiate or build upon their own on-farm trials.