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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
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FISHING

Production, processing, exports and imports of fisheries products

Production and value of fisheries

Australia's major commercial fishery products are rock lobster, prawns, tuna, abalone and pearls. Australian fishing operators concentrate their efforts on estuarine and coastal species, and pelagic (water column-living) and demersal (bottom-living) species that occur on the continental shelf.

Table 17.7 shows the quantity of production (including aquaculture) and table 17.8 the gross value of production of the Australian commercial fishing industry in 2007-08. In quantity terms, Australian fisheries production declined by 3% during 2007-08 to 235,681 tonnes with finfish (other than tuna), prawns, tuna and rock lobster the major contributors to the total. Consistent with the production trend, the gross value of the catch fell 1% to $2.2b due mainly to falls in the value of lobster (-$36m), abalone (-$29m) and pearls (-$9m).

17.7 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Quantity(a) - 2007-08

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
Cwlth
Aust.
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes

Finfish
Tuna
-
-
-
9 757
33
-
10
10 072
(b)14 651
Other
12 333
4 948
14 099
35 646
10 517
25 385
5 523
(c)32 815
141 267
Total
12 333
4 948
14 099
45 403
10 550
25 385
5 533
42 887
155 918
Crustaceans
Prawns
1 810
34
7 829
2 316
2 572
-
-
(d)7 868
22 430
Rock lobster
122
356
302
2 309
8 961
1 444
-
339
13 833
Crab
311
26
3 194
732
1 072
60
369
5
5 769
Other
47
21
523
40
130
na
-
101
862
Total
2 290
437
11 848
5 397
12 735
1 504
369
8 314
42 894
Molluscs
Abalone
109
1 385
-
1 057
281
2 487
-
-
5 319
Scallops
-
907
2 952
-
4 951
1 461
-
9
10 280
Oysters(e)
4 500
-
na
5 448
np
2 512
-
-
12 460
Other
494
640
59
2 756
757
1 077
35
1 013
6 831
Total
5 103
2 932
3 011
9 260
5 989
7 537
35
1 023
34 890
Other fisheries production
68
-
120
1 727
27
34
na
4
1 980
Total
19 794
8 317
29 079
61 788
29 301
34 460
5 937
(f)52 227
(b)235 681

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
na not available
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a) Includes estimates of aquaculture production (except NT), but excludes hatchery and inland commercial fishery production.
(b) Total has been adjusted so as not to double-count some southern bluefin tuna caught in the Commonwealth Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery which was used as input to aquaculture in SA.
(c) Includes the finfish component of Commonwealth Fisheries, plus catch from Commonwealth Fisheries that cannot be disaggregated due to confidentiality.
(d) Includes the Northern prawn, Torres Strait, South East and other fisheries.
(e) Excludes pearl oyster production (which only occurs in Qld, WA and NT).
(f) Totals include all fisheries under federal jurisdiction.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics - September and December Quarters 2008'.

17.8 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Gross value(a) - 2007-08

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
Cwlth
Aust.
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000

Finfish
Tuna
-
-
-
186 742
233
-
19
67 232
(b)210 055
Other
48 550
23 073
112 788
56 232
38 026
294 615
26 093
(c)124 374
723 752
Total
48 550
23 073
112 788
242 974
38 259
294 615
26 112
191 606
933 807
Crustaceans
Prawns
22 261
239
98 499
35 874
26 983
-
-
(d)83 685
267 541
Rock lobster
5 582
13 863
11 089
91 666
216 926
58 161
-
9 428
406 715
Crab
4 528
724
27 774
6 007
6 442
1 889
6 503
74
53 941
Other
818
130
10 489
785
2 773
2
-
1 532
16 529
Total
33 189
14 956
147 850
134 332
253 124
60 051
6 503
94 720
744 725
Molluscs
Abalone
3 667
43 949
-
36 194
10 165
94 567
-
-
188 542
Scallops
-
1 881
10 371
-
17 824
2 600
-
55
32 730
Oysters
39 000
-
620
30 132
np
19 378
-
-
89 130
Pearls
-
-
1 292
-
113 000
-
na
-
114 292
Other
3 964
2 366
297
9 698
14 758
4 189
333
2 061
37 666
Total
46 631
48 196
12 580
76 024
155 747
120 734
333
2 115
462 360
Other fisheries production
1 855
-
5 421
14 765
1 269
66
22 570
11
45 957
Total
130 225
86 225
278 639
468 095
448 399
475 467
55 518
(e)288 454
(b)2 186 849

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
na not available
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a) Includes estimates of the value of aquaculture production, but excludes the value of hatchery and inland commercial fishery production.
(b) Total has been adjusted so as not to double-count the value of some southern bluefin tuna caught in the Commonwealth Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery which was used as input to aquaculture in SA.
(c) Includes the finfish component of Commonwealth Fisheries, plus catch from Commonwealth Fisheries that cannot be disaggregated due to confidentiality.
(d) Includes the value of Northern prawn, Torres Strait, South East and other fisheries.
(e) Totals include all fisheries under federal jurisdiction.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Fisheries Statistics - September and December Quarters 2008.


Table 17.9 shows the quantity produced and gross value of fishery production in the years 2005-06 to 2007-08.

Australian fisheries production covers total production from both Commonwealth and state-managed fisheries, including aquaculture. Commonwealth fisheries accounted for 13% of the total gross value of Australian fisheries production in 2007-08. Commonwealth fisheries are those managed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority on behalf of the Australian Government. State and Northern Territory governments manage inland fisheries and aquaculture, in addition to those salt water fisheries not managed by the Australian (Commonwealth) Government, as described in Offshore Constitutional Settlement Arrangements.

17.9 SELECTED FISHERY PRODUCTS(a), Quantity and gross value

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

'000 t
$m
'000 t
$m
'000 t
$m

Finfish
Tuna
12.7
175.1
13.1
161.0
14.7
210.0
Other
149.5
614.6
147.0
706.9
141.3
723.8
Total
162.2
789.7
160.1
868.0
155.9
933.8
Crustaceans
Prawns
23.6
304.8
20.8
267.4
22.4
267.5
Rock lobster
16.2
476.8
13.5
442.8
13.8
406.7
Crab
6.1
52.7
6.0
54.2
5.8
53.9
Other
0.6
7.7
1.1
20.4
0.9
16.5
Total
46.5
841.9
41.4
784.8
42.9
744.7
Molluscs
Abalone
5.5
225.1
5.5
217.0
5.3
188.5
Scallops
9.0
23.3
10.6
29.3
10.3
32.7
Oysters
12.1
75.3
14.4
91.1
12.5
89.1
Pearls(b)
-
122.0
-
123.7
-
114.3
Other
8.6
39.8
9.4
44.0
6.8
37.7
Total
35.2
485.4
39.8
505.1
34.9
462.4
Other fisheries production(c)
2.3
49.4
2.3
52.9
2.0
46.0
Total
246.2
2 166.4
243.6
2 210.8
235.7
2 186.8

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Includes estimates for aquaculture; excludes hatchery and inland commercial fisheries.
(b) Excludes the value of pearls in NT.
(c) Includes the value of pearls in NT.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics-September and December Quarters 2008.


Processing of fish, crustaceans and molluscs

Processing establishments vary in size, scope of operations and sophistication of technologies employed. The majority of establishments undertake relatively basic cleaning, filleting, chilling, freezing and packaging processes, although some have the capacity for significant product transformation. Much of the value that is added to the catch is due to correct handling and quick delivery by air to local or overseas markets. Processing aims to maintain quality and freshness of export product by superior handling, cold storage and rapid transport to markets. This quality aspect is important in generating high values.

Exports and imports

Exports of fisheries products come under Australian government jurisdiction, while domestic market activity is the responsibility of the states and territories.

A significant proportion of Australian fisheries production - edible and non-edible - is exported. In 2007-08 the total value of exports (including live fish) fell by 10% to $1.3b (table 17.10) as Australia lost its status as a net exporter of fisheries products. Rock lobster was the highest earning export, accounting for 30% of total value of exports of fisheries products. Although the value of abalone exports fell 12% they remained as the second most valuable single edible fisheries export product while exports of tuna (whole) jumped 26% to be the third most valuable edible fisheries export. Exports of the highest value non-edible earner, pearls, slipped back 16% to $264m in 2007-08. (For some fisheries categories, the value of exports exceeds the value of production because exports are valued on a free-on-board basis which includes the value of packaging and distribution services to the point of export.)

In 2007-08, Hong Kong continued as the major destination for Australian exports of fisheries products, taking $554m worth of product (excluding live) and accounting for 43% of the total value of Australian fisheries exports (excluding live). Japan - the number two destination - accounted for 29%, with the products valued at $382m. The United States of America and Taiwan followed with $96m and $45m respectively while exports to China lost further ground, now only taking one quarter of their 2005-06 shipment.

South Australia was the highest earning state from exports of seafood in 2007-08, with income of $339m accounting for 32% of the total value of Australia's seafood exports. South Australia earned $194m (57%) of this income from exporting fresh or frozen fish while Western Australia earned 85% of its seafood export income of $266m from rock lobster. Live fish earned Queensland 25% of its total seafood export income of $161m. Tasmania ($147m) and Victoria ($102m) each earned about two-thirds of their seafood export income from sales of abalone.

The total value of Australian imports of fisheries products in 2007-08 fell 5% to $1.4b (table 17.9). The major items of imports, in value terms, were fish ($715m) - a third 'canned' and nearly another third frozen fillets - prawns ($167m) and pearls ($166m). The two main source countries of imported fisheries products were Thailand ($297m) and New Zealand ($207m) which together accounted for 36% of the value of imports. Fisheries products from Vietnam ($142m) and China ($133m) continued to make a strong contribution, combining to account for one fifth of imports of fisheries products.
17.10 EXPORTS AND IMPORTS OF FISHERIES PRODUCTS(a)

2005-06
2006-07
2007-08
Exports
Imports
Exports
Imports
Exports
Imports
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m

Fish
294.8
602.1
280.4
701.1
324.8
715.0
Tuna (whole)
177.4
1.6
160.4
1.1
202.3
1.6
Other fish (including canned and fillets)
117.3
600.5
120.0
699.9
122.5
713.4
Prawns
133.9
201.4
93.6
246.4
68.6
166.6
Lobster
489.4
10.2
463.4
13.2
400.9
14.1
Abalone
245.6
-
246.0
-
217.2
-
Scallops
38.8
30.8
35.4
29.8
27.8
28.1
Pearls(b)
289.5
159.4
313.7
181.6
264.0
166.4
Other fisheries products
55.0
261.9
61.6
295.3
38.3
307.7
Total
1 547.0
1 265.7
1 494.0
1 467.4
1 341.7
1 397.9

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Includes non-edible products (e.g. marine fats and oils, fishmeals, pearls and ornamental fish). Exports exclude sea products landed abroad directly from the high seas.
(b) Export data include items temporarily exported.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics - September and December Quarters 2008'.



Fisheries resources

The Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) covers offshore waters between 3 to 200 nautical miles seaward of the territorial sea baseline of Australia and its external territories. This area of almost 9 million square kilometres makes it an expanse 16% larger than the Australian land mass and the third largest fishing zone in the world. Despite the size of the AFZ, the Australian fisheries catch is small by world standards, as the waters of the AFZ tend to be nutrient poor, and so are generally not highly productive.

The Fishery Status Reports 2008, produced by the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, provides stock assessment information for 98 stocks, species or groups of species (hereafter all referred to as ‘stocks’), in fisheries for which the Australian Government has management responsibility. Management of these fisheries may be implemented unilaterally, with day-to-day management by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) or through joint authorities with state or territory governments, bilateral international agreements or broader regional or global international management entities.

The Fishery Status Reports describe, among other things, whether or not stocks are overfished (that is, their stock biomass is below a prescribed level) or subject to overfishing (the rate of mortality due to fishing exceeds a prescribed level). Of the 98 stocks assessed in the 2008 status reports, 44 were classified as not overfished (up from 20 in 2004), 13 as overfished (compared to 14 in 2004), and the status of the remaining 41 species was uncertain (compared to 40 in 2004). In terms of overfishing, 57 were not overfished (up from 12 in 2004), eight were subject to overfishing (compared to nine in 2004) and the status of 33 was uncertain (down from 53 in 2004). Of the 98 assessed stocks, 39 were classified as being both ‘not overfished’ and ‘not subject to overfishing’, while three stocks were classified as both overfished and subject to overfishing.

In 2008-09, the BRS, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), commenced a three year ‘Reducing Uncertainty in Stock Status’ project, designed to have a long-term impact in reducing the number of stocks classified as uncertain. In the Fishery Status Reports ‘uncertain’ species are those for which it is unclear whether they are overfished (too few fish left in a stock) or not, or whether overfishing (the stock is experiencing too much fishing) is occurring or not. In the long term, this project will facilitate the classification of stocks for which there are limited data to support a formal stock assessment.

Map 17.11 shows the status of 98 fish species (or groups of species) in Australia's Commonwealth-managed or jointly-managed fisheries in 2008.

Despite Australia's international reputation for its well-managed fisheries, these resources must be managed carefully to avoid over-exploitation. Status reports from 1992 to 2005 showed a trend of continued overfishing, increasing numbers of overfished stocks and continued high levels of uncertainty regarding stock status.

In response, a number of changes have been implemented since 2005, which have seen this trend reversed. The effects of these measures and the structural adjustments will become apparent over a number of years, with some stocks quicker to recover than others. Already, progress has been documented in the Fishery Status Reports 2008, with fewer stocks subject to overfishing.

The Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy (HSP) provides a framework for assessing the available information on individual fish stocks and applying an evidence-based, precautionary approach to setting catch levels on a stock basis. The HSP is designed to maximise the net economic return from the harvest of Commonwealth-managed fish stocks, whilst maintaining stocks at sustainable and productive levels. The HSP reflects the key domestic and policy obligations for Commonwealth fisheries management of key commercial species.

In December 2005, AFMA under its legislation was directed by the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation to minimise the incentives for discarding by ensuring it is factored into the setting of total allowable catch or effort levels (this is implemented by reducing the global Total Allowable Catch for quota species by the estimated amount of discards). AFMA was also directed to enhance the monitoring of fishing activity, for example through increased use of vessel monitoring systems with daily reporting, the use of on-board cameras and independent observers, and to establish a system of independent surveys for all major Commonwealth fisheries to increase transparency of catch and effort information.

17.11 Status of Commonwealth-managed or jointly-managed fisheries resources - 2008



Aquaculture

Aquaculture is a rapidly growing primary industry in Australia, and is an alternative to harvesting the naturally occurring wild fish stocks of aquatic organisms, such as fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants. Aquaculture operations may involve the farming of captive-bred stock or the ‘grow-out’ of ‘naturally occurring’ larvae and juveniles and wild caught stocks, but in all cases involves intervention in the rearing process designed to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding and protection from predators. Unlike wild-caught fisheries in which fishers access and harvest a common resource, farming implies individual or corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated, which provides operators with greater control over their operations. In 2007-08 the gross value of production of Australian aquaculture increased by 8% to $868.4m or 40% of the total value of fisheries production.

Aquaculture commenced in Australia in the late-1800s with the successful introduction of trout from the northern hemisphere and cultivation of the native Sydney rock oyster. The industry remained centred on these two species until the 1950s when the first cultured pearl farm was established in north-western Australia. A new wave of aquaculture development began in the 1980s with the beginning of the Atlantic salmon industry in Tasmania and commercial cultivation of native freshwater finfish, freshwater crayfish, prawns and Pacific oysters. The value of aquaculture production increased significantly in the 1990s, based on increased production and processing of Pacific oysters, prawns, Atlantic salmon, pearls and southern bluefin tuna.

Aquacultural operations occur in diverse environments including tropical, subtropical and temperate regions. The location of aquaculture is dependent on seasonal factors, the type of species being cultivated, the life-cycle stage of aquatic organisms and proximity to marine parks. More than one-third of people employed in the fishing industry are employed in aquaculture, which provides development opportunities in regional Australia and contributes to export income.

Many types of systems employing a variety of management techniques are used in aquaculture. The main emphasis of the industry is on producing high value species in near-shore or land-based sites within the coastal zone. Systems can be open or closed depending on the water flow. Open systems allow water to move through the cages such as in open seas or flowing rivers. In closed systems, the water flow is contained as in a pond or an aquarium.

In 2007-08 the gross value of Australian aquaculture production increased 8% (table 17.12). Salmon ($299m) continued as the species contributing the most to total gross value with tuna ($187m) production ranking second. Pearl oysters and edible oysters followed with $114m and $89m respectively.

In quantity terms, Australian aquacultural production for 2007-08 increased 4%. As in previous years, salmon, with 25,527 tonnes, remained the major aquaculture product, while edible oyster (12,460 tonnes) was the second most plentiful product.
17.12 AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION, Quantity and gross value(a)

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

tonnes
$m
tonnes
$m
tonnes
$m

Finfish
Salmon(b)
20 976.0
231.5
25 603.0
290.7
25 527.0
299.3
Tuna
8 806.0
155.8
7 486.0
137.7
9 757.0
186.7
Other(c)
2 936.0
28.2
3 284.0
34.3
5 892.0
60.3
Total
32 717.0
415.5
36 373.0
462.7
41 175.0
546.3
Crustaceans
Prawns
3 541.0
49.7
3 284.0
45.1
3 088.0
44.2
Yabbies
91.0
1.3
110.0
1.7
84.0
1.4
Other(d)
169.0
2.9
189.0
3.7
148.0
3.3
Total
3 802.0
54.0
3 583.0
50.5
3 319.0
48.8
Molluscs
Pearl oysters(e)
na
122.0
na
123.7
na
114.3
Edible oysters
12 052.0
75.3
14 374.0
91.1
12 460.0
89.1
Other(f)
3 695.0
26.5
3 676.0
26.1
3 657.0
25.2
Total
15 747.0
223.8
18 050.0
240.9
16 116.0
228.6
Other fisheries production(g)
2 273.0
49.1
2 137.0
51.6
1 892.0
44.6
Total
54 539.0
742.3
60 142.0
805.7
62 503.0
868.4

na not available
(a) Excludes hatcheries production, crocodiles, microalgae and aquarium worms.
(b) Includes trout production.
(c) Includes silver perch, barramundi, eels, aquarium fish and other native fish.
(d) Includes marron and redclaw.
(e) Excludes value of NT pearl production which remains confidential.
(f) Includes mussels, scallops, giant clams and abalone.
(g) Includes production of species unable to be assigned to a specific category, and value of NT pearls.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics - September and December Quarters 2008'.




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