A new $4.9 million hub to improve the productivity of aquaculture in northern Queensland has been launched in conjunction with James Cook University this week. The hub aims to improve the breeding programs of five of the state’s most popular aquaculture species – barramundi, pearl oyster, black tiger prawn, grouper and red algae. Funded by the federal government, the programme will be run in partnership with James Cook University and will focus on increased growth and disease resistance through the use of genomics. Genetic testing, selective breeding and artificial intelligence are also among the areas of research that the hub’s researchers will focus on. It will attract trainees and internships with partner organizations.