Prawns fed with Novacq feed additive grow faster and are healthier.
Prawns fed with Novacq feed additive grow faster and are healthier. CSIRO

Research program creates Novacq for prawns

A LANDMARK discovery by CSIRO boffins could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, slow down over-fishing of the world's oceans and help boost Australia's seafood exports.

Not bad for a decade's work.

A marathon research program in Brisbane and on Bribie Island, led by Dr Nigel Preston, has created Novacq or novel aqua feed, an ingredient for farmed prawns that helps them grow faster, taste better and make more money for producers.

CSIRO created a method of farming and harvesting underwater microbes which could then be added to pellets and fed to prawns.

"Because (Novacq) is a totally natural food source, prawns are not going to be anything other than good tasting because it's what they eat naturally," Dr Preston said.

It has also been tested for four months at Australian Prawn Farms in Ilbilbie, south of Mackay, with black tiger prawns growing faster than those not fed with Novacq.

Not only does the feed replicate what wild prawns eat in the wild, it replaces the millions of tonnes of wild marine life caught each year specifically to feed farm-grown seafood.

Novacq makes up about 10% of the pellets fed to the prawns.

Already, the Australian owned Ridley AgriProducts have a licence from the CSIRO to begin producing and selling the prawn feed both in Australia and in south-east Asia.



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