Sea ranching systems
In a sea ranching production system, juveniles (also called spat) feed naturally with no input from the farmer.
Characteristics of sea ranching systems
Sea ranching involves introducing juveniles (either hatchery-produced or wild-caught) into the natural environment where they are allowed to grow without containment structures.
Juveniles are placed on the sea bed, usually in the form of slurry, by a length of pipe or by hand.
The environment provides the animals with everything they need, so no additional feed is required.
Suitable species for sea ranching
Sea ranching of sea cucumbers (beche de mer) and scallops, where hatchery-produced juveniles are placed on the sea bed and allowed to grow to marketable size, is being trialled in the Hervey Bay region.
Scallops are normally grown in deep water and harvested using trawl boats.
Sea cucumbers are normally harvested by hand, either by diving or hand-harvesting at low tide in shallow water.
Things to consider
Scallop and sea cucumber sea ranching is only viable if:
- the culture area is closed to commercial trawl fishing while the animals grow
- the animals remain in the specified culture area until harvest.
You should schedule any harvesting and trawling activities so they do not conflict with other commercial activities (e.g. commercial trawl fishing or commercial whale watching in Hervey Bay from July to October).