AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUPPLY THE GROWING GLOBAL DEMAND FOR FARMED SEAFOOD
Project Sea Dragon is a unique and world class aquaculture opportunity designed to meet the growing global demand for seafood, particularly in Asia, at a scale that enables it to leverage Australia’s comparative advantages in biosecurity, marine science, access to key raw materials and expertise in large scale resource and agricultural development. A project of large scale means that Australia can be a low-cost producer, and Australia’s strong bio-security credentials and the Project’s relative remoteness will assist in mitigating bio-security risks. The project is to be developed in stages, with Stage 1 consisting of 1080 ha of prawn production ponds. Stage 1 is about 10% of the total project.
BENEFITS TO AUSTRALIA
Project Sea Dragon:
• Establishes a new export industry
The project will, within 10 years, produce $1.7 billion in export revenues.
• Creates jobs
The project will create 1500 sustainable, direct jobs as well as flow-on jobs in relevant services.
• Improves Australia’s seafood balance of trade
The project will significantly improve Australia’s seafood balance of trade by boosting Australia’s exports of prawns. The value of Australia’s prawn exports was approx. $101 million for 2013-2014. By comparison, Australia’s total live animal export earnings were worth $1.45 billion in 2014.
• Year round production in northern Australia
The project establishes an industry which is not subject to cyclical commodity fluctuations.
Global population is expected to increase from 7 billion today to 9 billion by 2050. Over that time the world’s total food requirement is expected to increase by 70% due not only to that increase but, more importantly, the increasing demand for animal protein resulting from the rising middle class – particularly in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China). The middle class is forecast to increase from 1.8 billion to around 5 billion people by 2030 (Source: World Bank: China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society (2012)). Fish supply from wild fisheries has reached its peak and many fisheries are already over-fished. This and the cost competitiveness of aquaculture compared to producing other sources of animal meat protein means large scale aquaculture will play an increasingly important role in meeting the rising demand for animal meat protein. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) forecasts that aquaculture production will grow by 60% or around 30 million tonnes per annum from 2010 to 2020. Seafood is an excellent nutritional source with greater health benefits than other sources of animal meat. The growing consumption of seafood in China and the rise in aquaculture production is a leading indicator of the significant role that aquaculture will play in global food production over the next 40 years. China currently accounts for two-thirds of world aquaculture production but has recently switched from being a net seafood exporter to a net importer.