One of the most promising fish for future aquaculture. This fish has many qualities to give it all-round appeal as a major aquaculture species for the future. It has been argued that this species has the best eating quality of all Australian freshwater fish, extremely easy to transport and at high densities, with a high flesh recovery.
Once past the smaller fingerling stages, when cannibalism is a real problem, the fish can be kept and grown in high densities. Early indications are that it will be unsuitable for pond grow-out situations, however will probably be ideal for growing in Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS). Work is now underway to answer some of the questions we need to ask. Will they take to artificial feeds? How fast do they grow? Just how densely can they be stocked? Among others these questions have to be asked. However there are a few smaller growers who have already tried these fish for themselves with positive result. These growers have not had the benefit of having a blue print to follow.
In Asia there already exists a fish very similar to our Sleepy Cod. This fish fetches some of the highest prices, (around four times that of Silver perch) and is regarded as top quality. There is no doubt an overseas market is out there just waiting for someone to meet. Shipping live, market sized Sleepy Cod, should prove to be relatively unchallenging. They do seem to live up to their name and lay motionless in shipping bags. This means their use of oxygen is minimal and therefore production of CO2 low. Many large fish should be able to be packed in an absolute minimum amount of water.
Experienced hatcheries have no difficulty producing fingerlings, however they are one of the more time consuming to produce and therefore are a little more expensive. If you intend to purchase fingerlings they should be ordered well before the season begins to avoid disappointment.