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Glenn Wormald

Nuffield Australia 2017 Scholarship winner

Glenn Wormald from Guthalungra near Bowen in Queensland, received a 2017 Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. He travelled to successful prawn nurseries throughout the world and brought their knowledge and experience back to Australia where nursery technology is yet to be implemented.

Glenn is manager of larval rearing at Pacific Reef Fisheries’ (PRF) hatchery. PRF produces over 1,000 tonnes of black tiger prawns and around 100 tonnes of cobia annually. The hatchery produced 120 million post larval black tiger prawns in 2015. Expansion of the hatchery site is planned for 2017, and will include a nursery phase in the rearing process.

Current prawn farming practice in Australia involves breeding and rearing larvae in a hatchery, then transferring to grow-out ponds, but Glenn says this technique leads to variable survival rates and restrictions on the growing period due to low temperatures.

“An intermediary nursery phase allows for the animals to be held to a larger size in a smaller temperature controlled system before moving them to the grow-out ponds.

“This enables the animals to be grown to full market size for the Christmas harvest, where early season low temperatures normally restrict final harvest weight.”

Recent trials of a nursery phase at PRF has shown a 15% improvement in prawn size for Christmas harvest and a 40% improvement in pond yield.  However, these trials have also raised many questions about how to design and manage the nursery systems to optimise results.

“The opportunity to study nursery systems already in operation overseas will enable us to avoid known pitfalls and harness best practice management,” he said.

Glenn is also very mindful of modern consumers and what they expect of primary producers.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of where products are sourced and produced, the efficiency and sustainability of production, the cost and quality of the product and the environmental and social impacts of production. I hope that my research will help to improve all of these outcomes in the longer-term.”

Glenn travelled to North and South America, Vietnam and Thailand.

Location: Guthalungra, Queensland
Scholarship report: click to view
Returning Scholar presentation: watch video
Scholar media profile: click to view

Glenn Wormald was sponsored by:

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