Seafarms Group has been recognised for its focus on biosecurity after winning the Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year in the 2020 Australian Biosecurity Awards.
Seafarms’ Cardwell farms are Australia’s oldest operating prawn farms and the company has made major investments to retrofit infrastructure to enhance biosecurity.
The Australian Biosecurity Awards were announced at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) Outlook Conference on Tuesday 3 March in Canberra.
James Cook University nominated Seafarms for the award for being an industry leader in all aspects of biosecurity and for implementing protocols beyond those required to meet government regulations, which benefit the entire prawn farming industry.
Over the past five years Seafarms has invested in training, improvements and developing controls and infrastructure to improve biosecurity at its sites based in Cardwell, Ingham and Flying Fish Point in Queensland and Exmouth in Western Australia.
Seafarms’ focus on improving biosecurity includes:
• developing an on-site microbiological laboratory to increase turnaround time on pathogen surveillance
• collaborating with James Cook University, CSIRO and University of Sydney to target selective breeding for disease
resistance and identifying novel approaches to managing prawn health
• optimising production methods to limit exposure and improve grow out timings.
Seafarms Chief Operating Officer Dallas Donovan said Seafarms was pleased to be recognised for its focus on
“Biosecurity is vital to the success of Seafarms’ operations and it requires continued focus and improvement – it is a process that never stops,” Dallas said.
“Seafarms is pleased to be recognised for the work it has done so far and we will continue to focus on biosecurity as a top priority.”
Seafarms’ Queensland operations is a pilot to develop and test the best practices for Project Sea Dragon – a billion dollar project to build a 10 000 hectare prawn aquaculture farm in the Northern Territory.
“We are taking lessons learned from our Queensland operations to the Top End, and from the start of Project Sea Dragon we have incorporated modern approaches to biosecurity in the design of all stages and facilities,” Dallas said.
“To reduce pressure on wild broodstock, our world class breeding program has developed Seafarms’ first generation of specific pathogen free (SPF) prawns for Project Sea Dragon – another key biosecurity measure.”