Recently, the Federal Government of Australia has awarded a researcher for his contribution to improving lobster and prawn farming. He used seaweed in the diet of lobster and prawns to make them sustainable environmentally and economically.
The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation awarded $22k to Dr. Valentin Thepot. He is a researcher at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC), a contributor to The Fish Site, and a coordinator at the Anindilyakwa Land Council.
In the trial phases, Dr. Thepot observed an improvement in the immunity and natural growth of rabbitfish by 400% after the addition of seaweed in the rabbitfish feeds.
After successful initial trials, he hoped for funding from the federal government for the next phase of trials. In the next phase, he wanted to replicate the experiments for other aquaculture species, such as prawns.
Dr. Thepot mentioned that antibiotics can impact human health and the environment badly. Moreover, there are also chances of economical loss of around $8 billion. Therefore, there is a need for a better solution.
The aquaculture industry has already been looking for solutions that don’t compromise productivity while managing diseases. And that innovative solution is the addition of seaweed to the aquaculture feed.
However, Dr. Thepot needs funds to reassure that whether the results he obtained for Atlantic salmon and rabbitfish will be replicated for high-value aquacultures, such as tropical rock lobster and tiger prawns.
Why is it important to fund this research project?
Aquaculture meets half of the global seafood demand. The Australian aquaculture industry is growing rapidly to meet this demand. Moreover, the Australian industry also has the potential to have start-ups in regional and rural areas.
The Anindilyakwa Land Council also believes that aquaculture has the potential for the development of other sustainable future industries.
This potential can only be best utilized for economic strength with better research. That’s why, Professor Nick Paul, USC Seaweed Research Group leader, believed that the current research and award is a step toward the improvement of the Australian industry.
Moreover, Professor Paul considered all the efforts for reducing antibiotic use and dependence a positive step toward a better aquaculture industry. He said that the global impact of this research project will be more prominent by 2050 when the projected costs of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are high.