AUSTRALIAN prawn farms grew from a 3500 tonne $50million industry to a 5300 tonne $77.5million in the five years to 2010, according to Australian Prawn Farmers.
The industry group says the growth has been underpinned by research and development and it was now recognised as one of the best aquaculture sectors in Australia.
Australian Prawn Farmers Association president Alistair Dick said research and development was important driver to improve productivity and competitiveness, and vital to keep in line with the community views in a country focused on sustainability and the environment.
He said this was why the release of the Rural R&D policy last week by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joe Ludwig, was exciting news and something "to be celebrated by all primary producers".
Prawn Farmers executive officer Helen Jenkins said the national food plan would be discussed at length at the 2012 Ridley Prawn and Barramundi Farmers Conference this week.
She said the key recommendations for prawn farmers were the move to change the Fisheries Research and Development Corporations legislation to allow for marketing and promotion.
"This alone is a major step forward for the prawn farmers and the whole seafood industry," she said.
"The focus on food production is another welcome change in policy for the government.
"For the past several years primary production has been forgotten.
"It is important the government correct this, increase investment on rural R&D and improve productivity."
The Ridley Prawn and Barramundi Farmers Conference is being held on August 1-2 at the Novotel, Coral Coast Drive, Palm Cove, Cairns.