New study identifies aquaculture as Northern Australia’s boom industry

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A new study funded by the CRC for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) has found that Northern Australia’s aquaculture industry has the potential to generate thousands of new jobs and increase the value of its production to more than $1.3 billion.

According to the 12-month study, the industry holds the potential to increase its current production value five-fold and create more than 2,000 new jobs across the north within 10 years.

Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the report provides a vision for the future for the whole northern Australian aquaculture industry.

“The growth of the aquaculture industry in the north will create many new jobs at a range of skill levels over the coming decade, which is great news for anyone living in this part of the country,” Minister Andrews said.

“Forecasts of new jobs and a boost in revenue for industries like this are very welcome as the economy continues to deal with the effects of COVID-19.”

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said one of the report’s six key recommendations is to build the northern Australian aquaculture industry as a means for Indigenous economic development and independence.

“According to the findings, northern Australia boasts 700,000 hectares of suitable marine farming area, and as much as 50 times that is available for freshwater operations,” Minister Pitt continued.

“Having a strategic industry plan will help the sector and the Government to attract investment in commercially viable projects, which will be a boost for the nation’s north.”

Assistant Minister for Northern Australia, Michelle Landry said the study delivers ‘a comprehensive assessment’ of the future of the NA aquaculture sector in Queensland, Northern Territory and northern Western Australia.

“It’s the first time a study has captured the whole northern Australian aquaculture sector, including significant opportunities for Traditional Owners,” Minister Landry said.

“The keys to success, according to the study, will be matching the right species, systems, infrastructure and market accessibility with the right investors and financial structures.”

James Cook University led the 12-month study and worked with more than 400 industry stakeholders and representatives.

Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson congratulated James Cook University on its work carrying out the study.

“We know we have world-class education and research on our doorstep here in Townsville so it’s great that James Cook University has been able to drive this study,” Mr Thompson said.

“The prospect of 2,000 jobs that could be created by this industry – backed up by evidence – is extremely encouraging for our region.”

To find out more about the study and the six key recommendations, visit

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