From Qld DPI Website
DPI QUEENSLAND Fisheries Service scientists have successfully spawned mullet out of season, significantly boosting the prospects of the Stateís aquaculture industry eventually being able to supply the fish year round.


Principal research scientist at the DPIís Bribie Island Aquaculture Research Centre (BIARC), Dr Abigail Elizur, said some 200,000 juvenile mullet were being reared, after the scientists successfully got adult fish to spawn in late August, two months after the ripe broodstock were captured on Bribie beaches.


"Mullet spawning occurs in a range of latitudes, and fisherman mainly catch the fish during their spawning migration run, which takes place between May and August," Dr Elizur said.


"For the first time in Australia, BIARC scientists have successfully bred mullet outside the usual winter spawning period by modifying environmental conditions for the fish.


This was done by reducing the light into holding tanks to convince the fish it was still mid winter."


Dr Elizur said the successful spawning followed the research centreís breakthrough last year of developing techniques leading to mullet spawning in captivity, for the first time in Australian aquaculture.


"This research represents a major advance for the aquaculture industry, with the possibility we could produce fingerlings on demand to meet the needs of domestic and foreign markets," she said.


"It could also lead to the provision of sufficient fish for specific research programs, or for other purposes such as cleaning up effluent from prawn farms and in our local waterways."


The research project is expected to demonstrate that mullet and other finfish species can consume algae, detritus, prawn faeces and other waste material, while converting it into a commercial fish crop and improving the discharge water quality.


"Overseas trials have found sea mullet are effective consumers of algae, plankton and prawn waste at low cost with minimal maintenance," Dr Elizur said.


"The potential of this project for both environmental management and resource efficiency of the aquaculture industry is exciting."