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ABALONE

The market for cultured abalone has been growing rapidly, especially in China, and has more than kept pace with world production. In the medium to long term, the continued increases in production and increased quantities of wild abalone being shipped live could have an impact on market prices. However, abalone fisheries have declined in many countries, so this shortage must be supplied from aquaculture.

Competition
Unfortunately for the culturist, ustralia!s abalone fisheries are generally well managed and Tasmania still has the world!s largest abalone fishery so there could be competition from ustralian fisheries, as well as, foreign abalone culture operations. However, farmers generally market abalone well below the minimum legal si"e for wild #reenlip and $lacklip abalone.

Prices
%rices for farmed ustralian abalone have e&ceeded '()*kg and future prices will reflect supply and demand trends. There is also considerable potential for improving production efficiencies. range of product categories for different si"e abalone is possible, such as live or canned +see ,akes - %onte, in .leming - Hone /001, pp. /213 /0(4.

ustralia in general, and specifically 5estern ustralia, have e&cellent potential for abalone farming, particularly with #reenlip abalone in land3based systems on the south coast.

Factors Favouring Abalone Farming In Australia


6ery high market value and declining world fisheries outside of ustralia vailability of suitable species e.g. #reenlip abalone 7ow disease risks 8&cellent abalone aquaculture research network +.9:C ;ubprogram4 8&perienced consultants High quality commercial abalone feeds 8&perience with handling, processing and marketing abalone. + ustralian abalone have an e&cellent market image.4 9ange of growout systems developed

Factors Favouring Western Australia


5ide range of species and coastal environments High water quality +low nutrient content4 Ideal locations with deeper bays on south coast for land3based #reenlip abalone farms +reduces risk of summer stress problems while favouring fast growth4 9elatively warm winter water temperatures due to the 7eeuwin Current 7arge number of potential land3based sites identified Inshore reefs to protect intake pipes %otential sea3based sites near lbany High priority industry for public sector research and development staff Current and new investment in hatchery facilities 9educed risk through e&perience gained with interstate farms

The limiting factors for abalone aquaculture in 5estern ustralia have been the delays in obtaining environmental and native title agreements for sites, absence of three3phase power in more isolated sites, limited availability of venture capital and a shortage of hatchery reared <uveniles. %rogress is being made with the first limitation and hatchery bottlenecks have largely been overcome. In the interim, growers can apply to translocate <uveniles from interstate under stringent conditions aimed at reducing disease and genetic impacts. 8conomic analyses of abalone aquaculture systems are rarely published but the paper by ,!$rien +in .oster /00=, pp. =132>4 should be consulted for land and sea3based systems. .or land3based systems, the cost and reliability of the seawater supply is a critical factor as water usage can e&ceed () million litres per day. ?ore recently, 5eston et al . +@))/4 concluded that land3based abalone farms producing /))3@)) mt annually had a high probability of financial viability despite their use of estimates, of cost of acquiring <uveniles, which many farmers consider to be too high. High prices are dependent on producing high quality product that does not pose any health risk to consumers. best practice manual has been developed to help achieve these goals + non., @)))4.

ABALONE FARMING Intro uction


balone are highly valued but slow3growing molluscs that have attracted more attention as candidates for aquacultureas wild fisheries have progressively declined in many countries +,akes - %onte, in .leming - Hone /001, pp. /213/0(4.The principal countries producing cultured abalone are China,Taiwan and Aapan. ;everal other countries including ustralia, Chile, Iceland, Ireland, ?e&ico, Bew Cealand, ;outh frica, Thailand, and the United ;tates are still developing significant abalone aquaculture industries. The world production of cultured abalone has grown rapidly to 7,165 metric tonnes (mt) in 1999 with an additional shortfall in supply of 7,000 mt pro ected (!leming, in !leming and "oberts #000, pp$1%15)$ 5hile most ustralian abalone fisheries have generally been well managed compared to other countries, several states are attempting to increase production by fostering abalone culture industries and several companies have produced abalone from growout systems in 6ictoria, ;outh ustralia and Tasmania +0) mt in /000, see .leming, in .leming and 9oberts @))), pp. /3/(4. #rowers rely on formulated artificial feeds, since some seaweeds used widely overseas +for e&ample, &acrocystis spp.4 have proven unsuitable for the ustralian abalone species being cultured and large scale harvesting of seaweeds is usually discouraged by state governments.

Abalone Culture an !pecies


' to "( "oe)s (*$ roei), +rownlip (*$ conicopora) and ,reenlip (*$ lae-igata) abalone 8leven abalone species occur along the 5estern ustralian coast with three speciesD #reenlip abalone + *aliotis lae-igata 4, $rownlip abalone + *$ conicopora 4 which is

closely related to $lacklip abalone + *$ rubra 4, and ;taircase abalone + *$ scalaris 4, considered to have the highest potential as candidates for culture +.igure /4. hybrid abalone, Tiger abalone, has been produced that apparently combines the better features of #reenlip and $lacklip abalone. There have also been attempts to farm the 9oe!s abalone + *$ roei 4 in 5estern ustralia. ;taircase and 9oe!s abalone are probably better suited to warmer culture sites between ugusta and #eraldton than #reenlip abalone, although good growth and survival rates have been achieved in indoor growout systems with this species in %erth +.reeman et al ., in .leming and 9oberts @))), pp. @E3 >24. The tropical :onkey3ear abalone + *$asinina 4 is being studied in Fueensland to determine its suitability for culture. This species offers a dilemma for the grower because it grows much faster, which reduces the cost of culture, but sells for a lower wholesale price than warm temperate abalone. his article is an introduction to biology, technology and development issues and complements a much more detailed summary of biological and technical knowledge relevant to the culture of abalone in 5estern ustralia, that has been published by this :epartment +.reeman, @))/4, and includes a more e&tensive reading list.