The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries production report said Mackay region aquaculture production fell by 429 tonnes, or 30 per cent in the 2018-19 financial year.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries production report said Mackay region aquaculture production fell by 429 tonnes, or 30 per cent in the 2018-19 financial year.

Troubled waters as aquaculture shrinks by 30 per cent

THE Mackay region fisheries and prawning industry has taken a savage hit, losing $7.9 million in total production value in 12 months.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries production report said aquaculture production fell by 429 tonnes, or 30 per cent in the 2018-19 financial year.

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said while it had been a tough year, she expected smooth sailing ahead.

"There are peaks and troughs in pricing for the production," Mrs Gilbert said.

"But we're seeing a turnaround."

With Tassal expanding its operation in Proserpine, she said there were exciting opportunities opening up in the region.

"We're developing new farms to keep growing the industry," Mrs Gilbert said.

 

The Tassal prawn farm at Proserpine.
The Tassal prawn farm at Proserpine.

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The falling production in Mackay comes amid a wave of profits in Queensland's aquaculture industry, which reached a total production value of $118.4 million last year.

Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said the number aquaculture jobs grew by 18.7 per cent last financial year, to 623 full time positions.

Even with falling production, 3.1 full time jobs were created in Mackay the report found.

Mr Furner said industry's growth was driven by the recovery of the prawn industry from the spread of white spot disease.

The swell of profits was expected to continue over the next few years, he said.

"We set our goal of making Queensland the aquaculture capital of the world, so we can attract millions of dollars' worth of investment and create jobs for hundreds more Queenslanders," Mr Furner said.