Starting an aquaculture business

There are many factors to consider before starting an aquaculture business in Queensland. These include balancing family, financial and work commitments. Like any business, there are risks involved in aquaculture and you will need to decide what level of involvement you want (e.g. owner-manager, investor).

Hours of work

Lifestyles of people who work in aquaculture depend on the aquaculture species and the type of aquaculture systems on their farm. Generally, managing a viable aquaculture farm is demanding, with long working hours up to 7 days a week.

For example, growing barramundi, prawns or other fin fish intensively in a pond-based aquaculture system requires regular monitoring and a considerable amount of labour input to meet the optimal growth requirements.

Family and finances

It is critical that any aquaculture business is central to your plans for you and your family. Your current work situation as well as family finances and commitments need to be determined and arranged when entering into aquaculture. Often people maintain off-farm income to help them during the establishment phase of an aquaculture business.

Learn more about funding your new aquaculture business.


Returns to aquaculture farming enterprises are influenced by risks and uncertainty, which are inherent to aquaculture production. Risks an aquaculturist faces include:

  • establishment and management risks
  • biological requirements of aquaculture species
  • the physical environment in which the farm operates
  • current and future markets.

It is important to understand the nature of risks facing each aquaculture species. For example, price, output, feed-conversion ratios and feed prices are parameters of risk that can vary on a regular basis.

The Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi had major impacts on many aquaculture operations. Potential business owners should understand that Queensland's weather could also affect their business.


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