Australia's aquaculture industry grows

Australia's aquaculture industry grew 8 percent in 2007-08 in terms of value, according to a report published on Friday by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

The country produced AUS 868 million (USD 695 million, EUR 493 million) worth of farmed seafood in 2007-08, about 40 percent of its total seafood production.

"Aquaculture presents great opportunities for Australian fisheries to be part of the solution to world food security, particularly with the pressures on wild-catch fisheries," said Australia Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Tony Burke.

Wild fisheries production is trending downward, underlining the importance of Australia's aquaculture industry, he said. Additionally, Australia is now a net importer of seafood, in terms of value.

"The fisheries sector faces a number of challenges - the appreciation of the Australian dollar, declining export volumes and falling prices for export species such as rock lobster and prawns," said Burke.

"Changing the way we manage our fish populations, including a greater role for aquaculture, will help to meet these challenges," he advised.

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