Jim Ryall receives Good Australian Award for role as pioneer of Australian aquaculture

Aug 25, 2022

Jim Ryall receives Good Australian Award for role as pioneer of Australian aquaculture

Aug 25, 2022

AQUACULTURE pioneer and prawn and fish farm architect, Jim Ryall, has been presented with a Good Australian Award by Cairns City Council Mayor, Bob Manning.

The Good Australian Award, instituted by Kennedy MP, Bob Katter, recognises hardworking and honest North Queenslanders, and recipients of the award can use the post-nominal letters G.A. after their name.

Bob Katter said Jim Ryall received his award for creating Australia’s prawn and fish farming industry, particularly his work in “cracking the barra” breeding code.

“Jimmy Ryall gave Queensland and Australia its first commercial fish and prawn farm and Jimmy, like all pioneers, make houses for others to live in, he’d be a classic example of that,” Mr Katter said.

“He produced magnificent outcomes for Australia in-so far-as he had learned from his mistakes and was able to provide advice, direction and consultancy to other people who stepped forward after him. 

“I’d like to name these families; the Sciaccas, the Wah Days, Ervin Vidor, the Cocos, the Piccolos, Ken Chapman. I’d love to see a statue built to those families that got this industry which is now earning Australia $2 billion a year.

“We have the industry today because of Jim Ryall and today we get a great deal of satisfaction out of seeing a man honoured by becoming a Good Australian and be respected by people because the people that have got that award, I hope will be forever in the history of Australia, most certainly in my beloved northern Australia”

Mr Ryall said he considered his work on the barramundi farming, particularly his role in developing the science to breed the species from hatchlings, a particular highlight of his illustrious career.

He recalled it was during the 1980’s when the Queensland Government planned to introduce the Nile Perch into Australia which fueled his fire to solve the barra breeding riddle, assisted by Bob Manning in his role as Chief of the wharf in Cairns.   

“I got immense satisfaction of getting the barra project going,” Mr Ryall said.

“We had a pile of Hatcheries on Number 2 Wharf in Cairns and where it was decided that we’d have a try to crack the breeding technology for barra because the Queensland Government at the time had decided it was too hard. 

“They wanted to introduce the Nile Perch into Queensland and we were so anxious about that. We could see the dramas and difficulties with it. It virtually wiped-out native species in South Africa and it would have ended up a disaster here.

“The director of fisheries of New South Wales approached us and we were not going to go quietly. We knew that we wouldn’t have the Nile Perch brought in if we could crack the barra code so we approached the Queensland Government who knocked our applications initially, but eventually came on board.

“A few weeks after we had the Government approvals, we were successful in breeding barramundi and kept the Nile Perch out of Australia which would have had a massive impact on the local fisheries.”