Latin names: Rachycentron canadum
Farmed - Australia
- QLD (130t in 2017)
Cobia is native to Australia, and farmed in one aquaculture operation (Pacific Reef) in QLD. There is currently no wild capture fishery for the species. Farmed cobia is produced on land in ponds in an aquaculture farm that also produces prawns and barramundi.
Cobia are dependent on the fishmeal and fish oil in feed sourced from wild caught fish. However, they are an extremely fast growing fish that can reach 10kgs within one year on a diet relatively low in fishmeal and oil. Feed manufacturers continue to reduce the quantities of wild caught fish in the feed used to farm cobia. Farmed cobia has a better ‘wild fish in to farmed fish out’ ratio than farmed carnivorous finfish species such as Rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon, so much so that the amount of amount of cobia produced in the fish farms actually exceeds the amount of wild fish caught for their feed. This means that the farms aren’t taking out more fish from the ocean than they produce.
Farming cobia also has minimal impact on the natural environment. Fish pond waste (fish faeces and excess food) is used in a polyculture operation to grow pharmaceutical and food grade algae, and wastewater from the cobia farm, which is along the Qld coast, is adequately treated and does not present a threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Effluent is tested downstream of the farm site to ensure wastewater is not fertilising the surrounding environment. As of early 2018, Pacific Reef are expanding their operations to scale up production of prawns and cobia. There are no concerns over this expansion.
Broodstock (young cobia that are used in the farming operation) are sourced from Moreton Bay. There are no concerns over the take of young cobia from wild populations. Disease transfer from farmed fish into wild populations is not an issue in land-based production, and antibiotics are not currently used in the production of cobia.