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Mariculture in South Australia

Farming Yellowtail kingfish

Adapted from

The Australian Hiramasa Company has developed hatchery to allow the breeding of large quantities of disease free juvenile fish which are hand fed live foods. Juvenile fish are continuously monitored and graded in on shore tanking systems until they reach a weight of 5 grams. They are then dispatched to off shore sea farms along the South Australian coastline for grow out. These ideal conditions include twice daily 2 metre tidal movement and annual average water temperatures of between 14 and 26oC.

The sea farms are situated in a disease free environment and daily monitoring by qualified personnel of oxygen levels, water flow, water temperature and stock densities, ensures stress free growth of the kingfish. After harvesting, at 1 to 5 kg, the fish are processed and packagedat their modern on shore handling facility to minimise the time from sea farm to sale. Yellowtail kingfish are usually sold as whole fish. They are also sold on the domestic market in cutlet or fillet form, with better quality fish being sold for sashimi.

Other kingfish farms follow similar procedures but purchase young fish weighing 5 grams which are transported into sea cages, which are usually 25 metres diameter and 4 to 8 metres deep, where they can reach 1.5 kg by the end of a growing season lasting from six to eight months. The fish are fed special pellets developed for them. Care needs to be taken to prevent large quantities of uneaten food and fish wastes sinking to the bottom beneath the cages, which may affect the water quality, stock condition and create pollution in the surrounding environment.

There are currently two hatcheries in South Australia. Breeding stock are caught from the wild and are maintained in large indoor broodstock tanks of greater than 90 m3 and 2 metres deep. Special permits are required before capture of breeding stock,

Conservationists have expressed concerns about the farming of Yellowtail kingfish. Of major concern is the possibility of the escape of kingfish from farms around the Eyre Peninsula due to their potential predatory impact on local populations of other fish species.

Sea cage
Image from Australian Hiramasa website

A delicious meal of Yellowtail kingfish
Image from Southern Star Aquaculture website



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