News and events

News and events

Meet the supercharged prawn of the future

10th May 2019, JCU Media Release

Imagine a prawn that can grow twice as fast as today’s farmed prawns, and several times as large. It's better for you because it contains higher levels of omega 3, and it’s resistant to disease and sustainable to farm. And the best part? You could be eating these for Christmas lunch in just five years, because Australian farmers are producing the first generations of selectively bred prawns in a move that’s set to revolutionise the global seafood industry.

Australian scientists are racing to breed better, stronger ‘super-prawns’ to help meet the increasing demand of a global population that’s in serious need of a sustainable protein source.

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Old-school breeding and high-tech genomics to boost prawns and barramundi

19 May 2018, ABC Radio National - The Science Show

Agriculture and animal production enjoy the benefits of thousands of years of breeding. Aquaculture is a range of new industries. Prawns and barramundi farming are to benefit from work being done at James Cook University in Townsville. Professor Dean Jerry describes it as a combination of the old and the new. The old is traditional breeding based on preferred physical characteristics. The new is genomics, selecting for genes known to code for the best traits.

Hear the full interview with ARC Research Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding Director Dean Jerry

New testing lab takes pressure off prawn farmers

4th October 2018, JCU Media Release

James Cook University have been officially accredited to test for serious disease causing pathogens in prawns – relieving pressure on stretched testing services and providing a much faster turn-around service for the Queensland aquaculture industry. The Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer has approved JCU’s state-of-the art facilities to test for White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) and Yellow Head Virus-1 (YHV-1).

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Unleashing the genetic potential of black tiger shrimp

12th September 2016

The ARC Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding will bring the genetic knowledge of black tiger shrimp to a level comparable to that of livestock, and will generate the tools and processes needed to conduct a highly-advanced breeding program for the species and that has industrial scalability.

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AFPA and ABFA Symposium 2016 - Student Competitions

12th August 2016

A massive congratulations to our Post Graduate students who have recently participated in the Annual Prawn Farmers Assoc Apfa and ABFA Symposium held on the 2nd and 3rd of August in Townsville. All our students entered the Poster and Presentation competitions and cleaned up!

  • Presentation section was one by our very own Sarah Berry who presented “Selective breeding for stress tolerance in the black tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon
  • Poster section was won by our newest student on board Jarrod Guppy who's poster "Genomic resources to transform Australian Black Tiger Prawns breeding program" also won the JCU, Festival of life sciences poster competition on Wednesday.
  • Special mention to Tansyn Noble and her wonderful participation, her poster titled "Can we use challenge tests to improve GAV tolerance in Black Tiger Prawns?"

PhD Confirmation Seminar Announcement

13th June 2016

Sarah Berry will be presenting her PhD confirmation seminar "Physiological response to environmental stressors in the black tiger prawn Penaeus monodon" on Monday the 13th of June at 10 am. The presentation will be in room DA009-001 on the Townsville Campus and will be videolinked to Cairns via B1.103. Everyone is welcome.

Innovative Aquaculture

25th May 2016, Share Magazine

Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production systems in the world, surpassing beef production in 2011. Securing Australia’s position in the world supply of sustainable seafood means being at the cutting-edge of research, particularly when it comes to breeding the healthiest, best growing species.

Read more (PDF, 352 KB)

Surveillance & Management of Disease in Prawn Aquaculture

11th May 2016

Webinar with Dr Giana Bastos Gomes:  This webinar will provide information on the economic importance of prawn/shrimp farming and different farm and hatchery systems, and health management programs. It will also cover the importance of disease surveillance in aquaculture and general wet-mount health check technique for farmed prawn/shrimp.  Register now!

Read more (PDF, 399 KB)

New Approaches to Delivering Prawn Aquaculture

4th-5th May 2015

APFA Workshop 2. Prawn farmers talking industry based projects for opportunities in applied science. An innovative approach to research!

Read more (PDF, 644 KB)

APFA Workshop

19th November 2015

The ARC Research hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding are hosting the Australian Prawn Farmers Association workshop on the Thursday 19 November for any researchers interested in meeting the APFA R&D committee, hearing about their priorities and possible funding mechanisms, and pitching (unofficial research project ideas). Importantly we will highlight the process to go through for researchers seeking support (financial or general) from the APFA.

Please note late registration and details can be found by special request via email to Prof Dean Jerry on

Read more (PDF, 259 KB)

Prawn Sampling Workshop

29th July 2015

Twenty-five registered participants gained hands-on experience in prawn sampling on 29th July as part of a workshop run by Dr Ian Anderson (QDAF), Dr Jeff Cowley (CSIRO), Dr Melony Sellars (CSIRO) and Mrs Tansyn Noble (JCU). The experience has been described as “a complete success” by participants who learnt how to take prawn samples for QDAF emergency response procedures and for prawn pedigree analysis and viral screening for breeding programs. The workshop was supported jointly by the APFA, FRDC Aquatic Animal Health Subprogram Training Scheme and ARC Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding.

Unleashing the Australian Tiger Prawn onto the World

30th April 2015, JCU Media Release

Seafood lovers may need a bigger barbie soon, with James Cook University and partner organisations launching a new prawn research hub south of Cardwell today (Tuesday 5th May 2015).

Read more (PDF, 363 KB)

ARC Project to Build the World's Biggest Prawn Farm

24th June 2014, The Australian

Now something of a tiddler in prawn aquaculture, Australia could soon have the world's biggest tiger prawn farm.

Read more (PDF, 134 KB)

JCU helping produce world's most efficiently and sustainably farmed prawn

13th June 2014, JCU Media Release

James Cook University research will help establish the world's largest black tiger prawn farm, and develop genetically superior seafood for international markets.

The Federal Government announced today that JCU has been successful for the first time under the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP), which started in 2012.
The project, Unleashing the tiger - advanced breeding to transform prawn aquaculture, will receive almost $5 million over five years. It will fund research and development that will lead to the most advanced selective breeding program for this important aquaculture species globally.

Read more (PDF, 233 KB)