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Australian Crayfish Hatchery: intensive vertical aquaculture licensing opportunity

Opportunity for

  • Commercial partners interested in the establishment of sustainable, intensive, vertical aquaculture production systems
  • Partners skilled and knowledgeable in business scaleup including international marketing, seafood sales and distribution, business/finance expertise, with a focus on sustainable aquaculture.

Opportunity description

Industry challenge:

Australian freshwater crayfish are in increasing global demand. While global markets for freshwater crayfish are large (US $7.6 billion), demand consistently exceeds supply. This is primarily due to traditional production methods that are labour intensive, season dependent and fraught with inbreeding impacts (poor growth, survival and yield).

Australian Crayfish Hatchery (ACH) have developed technologies enabling year-round supply of high quality redclaw crayfish seed stock (craylings) for grow out to export size. However, freshwater crayfish industries have not progressed from traditional pond-based culture methods which require large areas of land, high volumes of water, is seasonal and experience losses due to predation and environmental impacts.

Using traditional pond-based culture methods production outcomes are very difficult to manage or predict leading to inconsistent and unreliable supply of crayfish at harvest. For these reasons, Australian freshwater crayfish have not been able to capture any significant market presence domestically or export.

ACH have developed converging innovative technologies that have demonstrated the potential for intensive vertical farming of redclaw crayfish. The aim is to establish a commercial intensive vertical redclaw production facility to produce quality redclaw export reliably and consistently to capture the vast unmet market demand.

Current opportunity:

Australian Crayfish Hatchery (ACH) is seeking to license larval rearing technologies and intensive breeding methods using vertical systems that have been developed. Interested parties can utilise the technology to establish a commercial intensive vertical redclaw crayfish production facility. Production of redclaw (from egg) to over 100g has been proven in the ACH vertical systems with high survival and exceptional product quality.

Australia currently produces less than 70 t/year of redclaw well short of the stated estimates from importers of a market demand of 100,000-150,000 tonnes annually. The 2017 Coriolis Report flagged Australian redclaw crayfish aquaculture as a new and emergent industry with substantial prospects for the industry to evolve out of the current small-scale mode of operation into an industry with significant domestic and international outputs.

Opportunity background:

The Australian redclaw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus), endemic to northern parts of Queensland and NT, are considered an outstanding candidate for major industry development and an export earner for Northern Australian.

NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources states “Around the world aquaculture has proven to be one of the few developing industries that can provide economic and employment outcomes in rural and/remote areas.”

The development of a commercial redclaw industry across Northern Australia offers significant opportunities in domestic and export markets and potential for Traditional Owner-led business development.

Being a freshwater species, redclaw aquaculture is not restricted to coastal areas and can be developed on land unsuitable for other agricultural activities. In addition, the water used in the culture of redclaw can be reused to irrigate an agricultural crop reducing water waste and the requirement for chemical fertilizers.

ACH’s processes are modular and capable of replication to meet growing industry demand. Each module is environmentally controlled and can be established in any location with access to freshwater. This enables establishment of hatchery facilities in key market/production areas increasing production and industry growth.

The establishment of an intensive growout facility which will enable complete control of the entire production chain.

Other applications

The ACH team have developed production and RAS technologies relevant to a range of freshwater crayfish species including C. quacricarinatus, C. destructor, C. cainii and Procambarus clarkii.

Opportunity type


Express interest by

28 February 2023


Mid to Late (TRL 5-9)
For opportunities that are seeking solutions providers who are in the mid to late stages of readiness.
What does this mean?
Describes the stage of the challenge or opportunity being pursued.

Opportunity led by

Multiple industries
Alternative protein Aquaculture

Australian Crayfish Hatchery

Freshwater crayfish are in increasing global demand. Global markets are large (US$8.0 billion) and increasing however demand consistently exceeds supply. This is due to traditional production methods which are high risk producing inconsistent production outputs thus the capacity to increase production to meet market demand cannot be reached.

Multiple industries
Alternative protein Aquaculture
  • Location


  • Organisation type

    Startup or Scaleup or SME

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