FACT SHEETS - HOW WE USE CORAL REEFS
• Aquaculture (sometimes known as aquafarming or mariculture) is the farming of freshwater or saltwater organisms under controlled conditions for consumption or other purposes.
• Coral reefs and the surrounding water provide an ideal environment for aquaculture.
• The process normally involves farming saltwater fish and invertebrates in land-based tanks and ponds or in sea-based cages called sea cages.
• Aquaculture happens in various forms, from a hatchery operation which is producing fertilised eggs, larvae or fingerlings, through nursery operations which nurse small larvae to fingerlings or juveniles, to a grow-out operation, which is the farming of fingerlings or juveniles to marketable sizes.
• Australia has a vibrant and growing aquaculture industry with over 60 species being farmed - the five biggest being Southern Bluefin tuna, pearls, Atlantic salmon, prawns and edible oysters.
• The recent Coolgaree Bay Sponge Farm Agreement Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) is an example of local aquaculture due to take place on up to 54 hectares around the Palm Islands in Queensland. The sea sponges would be sold for the cosmetic market, or could in the future be used in the development of anti-cancer and anti-viral drugs. The venture would also provide employment and skills development for the Indigenous people of Palm Island.
• At a National Aquaculture Workshop held in Canberra in August 1999, the industry set itself a vision which stated that by 2010 a vibrant and rapidly growing Australian aquaculture industry will achieve $2.5 billion in annual sales by being the world's most efficient aquaculture producer.
• There is still debate about whether or not aquaculture can provide a solution to counteract the problems of wild-kill fisheries on the GBR.
• Potential negative impacts of farming need to be mitigated by operators. These include: nutrient enrichment of the water column and benthos; potential impacts on wild fish populations by the introduction of diseases; attraction of predators and amenity impacts.
• Australian Aquaculture Portal: www.australian-aquacultureportal.com
• Australian Government: www.daff.gov.au
• Australian Marine Conservation Society: http://amcs.org.au/default2.asp?active_page_id=159
• Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: http://www.fao.org/fishery