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Mariculture in South Australia

Farming abalone

The abalone industry contributes $120 million a year to the Australian economy, with aquaculture considered a reliable source of high-quality abalone. Abalone is Australia’s fourth most valuable fisheries export. The m ajor abalone producing countries include Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Africa, Mexico, New Zealand, the USA and Chile.

Australia’s major abalone producing states are Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia. New South Wales and Western Australia also produce abalone.

The farming of greenlip abalone has been developing in South Australia since the early 1990’s and is now recognised as a significant contributor to the State’s aquaculture industry. The stimulus for continued growth of the industry is the highly lucrative Asian shellfish market. Output from South Australian farms is growing at a rate greater than 30% per year.

In South Australia, commercial abalone farms currently operate near Port Lincoln and Streaky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula and on Kangaroo Island.There There are currently nine land-based abalone farms in South Australia and also one mobile abalone farming system is currently licensed to operate in South Australian waters.

Abalone - land farm

South Australia is considered an ideal location for continued development in farming abalone, as it offers suitable protected areas with accessible clean water and awell-established abalone industry association.

Abalone farming occurs at sea on artifical reefs or in cages suspended off the bottom and in land-based farms using tanks. Land-based systems are by far the most popular since they offer a greater degree of control over the growing process. Australia is currently at the leading edge of land-based abalone farming; having developed sophisticated hatchery, nursery and grow-out systems. Prices of $50 - 60 per kilogram are paid for 50 - 80 mm+ abalone from farms.

In South Australia, the highly prized Greenlip abalone is exclusively produced. The product is sold mostly as a frozen whole in shell product. Some of it is canned. The abalone is harvested when it is in the size range of 80 - 95mm in length.

Canned abalone

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