Cobia's fine dining success a huge boost for aquaculture

A PROJECT to commercialise a tropical ocean fish for Queensland prawn farmers to grow in their ponds has been declared a culinary winner by the country's top chefs and food judges.

Fisheries experts believe cobia's success in the world of fine dining will kick start a new multi-million-dollar aquaculture industry in northern Australia.

"In seven years we have gone from having nothing to a million-dollar industry, with the potential to grow to a 10-, 20-, 40-million-dollar industry." Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries scientist Dr Peter Lee says.

When the joint industry and government project began in 2006, there was no commercial cobia fishery, but the fish was prized by Queensland's recreational fishers, who call it black kingfish.

Once scientists worked out how to breed and farm cobia it began appearing on the menus of some of the Australia's best restaurants.