Get ready for the super prawn

Australian scientists are developing an advanced breeding program for the black tiger prawn, which would enable the species to grow twice as fast.

For many BBQ-loving Aussies, there's nothing better than cooking up a big juicy prawn.

But what if that tasty prawn could make it to the hotplate in half the time?

That tantalising prospect is set to become a reality, following the launch of a research hub that aims to double the growth rate of the black tiger prawn.

The project, which has received $4.9 million in federal funding, focuses on developing the world's most advanced breeding program for the farmed crustacean.

Hub director Professor Dean Jerry, of James Cook University, said he hoped to double the species' growth rate within five years to significantly boost the productivity of Australia's prawn industry.

Prof Jerry said the genetic potential of the black tiger prawn was about to be unleashed.

"At the moment the tiger prawn is farmed but the full productivity potential locked in the species genes hasn't been exploited," he said, adding the aim was to farm prawns as efficiently as pigs and chickens are.

While the super prawn will grow quicker, it will be farmed at the popular 40g size and be just as tasty as the regular kind.

The species will also be bred to be more disease tolerant.

The Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding was launched on Tuesday at Australia's largest prawn operation Seafarms, which has 52 ponds near Cardwell in far north Queensland.

Source: AAP