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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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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, abalone, tuna and pearls. Australian fishing operators concentrate their efforts on estuarine and coastal species, and pelagic (surface) and demersal (bottom living) species that occur on the continental shelf.

Table 17.6 shows the quantity of production (including aquaculture) and table 17.7 the gross value of production of the Australian commercial fishing industry in 2005-06. In quantity terms, Australian fisheries production declined by 13% during 2005-06 to 240,988 tonnes with finfish (other than tuna), prawns and rock lobster the major contributors to the total. Despite the fall in production, the gross value of the catch increased by 1% to $2.1b, the first rise in five years. Nearly all the improvement was due to better prices for rock lobster and other finfish, increasing their value by 10% and 5% respectively. However, the value of scallop production fell 47% as the catch of the prized mollusc fell 44%.

17.6 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Quantity(a) - 2005-06

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

Finfish
Tuna
20
-
-
8 806
8
-
12
9 045
(b)12 701
Other
13 577
4 766
11 849
32 366
14 948
20 047
4 777
(c)44 123
146 453
Total
13 598
4 766
11 849
41 172
14 956
20 047
4 789
53 168
159 155
Crustaceans
Prawns
1 448
25
9 523
2 070
3 332
-
-
(d)6 789
23 187
Rock lobster
100
408
782
2 365
10 435
1 482
-
599
16 170
Crab
428
23
2 710
791
1 042
62
272
11
5 340
Other
73
24
103
34
137
-
31
145
547
Total
2 050
480
13 118
5 260
14 946
1 544
303
7 543
45 244
Molluscs
Abalone
129
1 377
-
1 125
306
2 574
-
-
5 511
Scallops
-
514
1 653
-
2 780
3 566
-
177
8 690
Oysters(e)
4 267
-
-
5 340
-
2 389
-
-
11 995
Other
849
1 057
157
2 426
956
1 183
61
1 876
8 566
Total
5 245
2 948
1 810
8 891
4 042
9 711
62
2 053
34 762
Other fisheries production
12
-
58
1 652
66
34
-
5
1 828
Total
20 904
8 194
26 835
56 975
34 010
31 337
5 153
(f)62 769
240 988

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Includes estimates of aquaculture production (except NT); 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) Total includes all fisheries under Commonwealth jurisdiction.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2006'.


17.7 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Gross value(a) - 2005-06

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

Finfish
Tuna
97
-
-
155 795
34
-
17
56 125
(b)175 119
Other
48 219
22 729
85 436
33 280
43 317
224 511
20 335
(c)118 927
596 753
Total
48 316
22 729
85 436
189 075
43 351
224 511
20 352
175 051
771 872
Crustaceans
Prawns
17 074
330
124 346
36 909
38 014
-
-
(d)85 342
302 015
Rock lobster
3 823
14 476
13 935
81 170
292 063
52 598
-
12 301
470 366
Crab
4 541
728
18 931
4 155
6 366
1 930
4 499
55
41 205
Other
918
294
1 270
620
2 494
-
280
1 606
7 482
Total
26 355
15 828
158 481
122 854
338 937
54 528
4 780
99 304
821 067
Molluscs
Abalone
5 424
55 332
-
42 375
12 653
109 995
-
-
225 779
Scallops
-
1 051
8 103
-
9 255
6 374
-
198
24 981
Oysters(e)
34 093
-
570
32 480
122 000
16 720
-
-
205 863
Other
3 985
2 667
867
6 744
15 214
4 618
595
3 436
38 126
Total
43 502
59 050
9 540
81 599
159 122
137 708
595
3 634
494 750
Other fisheries production
1 491
-
3 050
13 643
1 019
59
(f)26 000
36
45 298
Total
119 664
97 607
256 508
407 171
542 429
416 805
51 727
(g)278 025
2 132 986

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(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) Includes the value of pearl production in Qld and WA.
(f) Includes the value of pearl production in NT.
(g) Total includes the value of all fisheries under Commonwealth jurisdiction.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2006'.

Table 17.8 shows the quantity produced and gross value of fishery production in the years 2003-04 to 2005-06.

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 2005-06. Commonwealth fisheries are those managed on behalf of the Australian Government by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. State and Northern Territory governments manage inland fisheries and aquaculture, in addition to those salt water fisheries not managed by the Australian (Commonwealth) Government. The distribution of the management of fisheries between the Australian Government and state governments is determined following consultations held under the Offshore Constitutional Settlement Agreement.

17.8 FISHERY PRODUCTS, Quantity produced and gross value(a)

2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
'000 t
$m
'000 t
$m
'000 t
$m

Finfish
Tuna(b)
14.7
279.5
11.3
172.5
12.7
175.1
Other
165.3
580.9
173.0
569.4
146.5
596.8
Total
179.9
860.5
184.3
741.9
159.2
771.9
Crustaceans
Prawns
27.6
360.3
23.7
309.2
23.2
302.0
Rock lobster
19.9
411.1
18.5
426.6
16.2
470.4
Crab
7.4
56.2
6.6
48.6
5.3
41.2
Other
0.7
10.0
0.7
11.5
0.5
7.5
Total
55.5
837.6
49.5
795.9
45.2
821.1
Molluscs
Abalone
5.8
197.9
6.0
233.0
5.5
225.8
Scallops
9.3
24.7
15.4
46.7
8.7
25.0
Oysters(c)
12.7
77.2
10.4
74.0
12.0
83.9
Pearls(d)
-
122.0
-
122.0
-
122.0
Other
11.0
45.9
10.4
42.7
8.6
38.1
Total
38.8
467.7
42.2
518.5
34.8
494.8
Other fisheries production(e)
1.1
40.9
2.3
49.0
1.8
45.3
Total
275.4
2 206.7
278.3
2 105.4
241.0
2 133.0

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Includes estimates for aquaculture; excludes hatchery and inland commercial fisheries.
(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) Excludes pearl oysters.
(d) Excludes the value of pearls in NT.
(e) Includes the value of pearls in NT.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2006'.

Processing of fish, crustaceans and molluscs

Processing establishments vary in size, scope of operations and sophistication of technologies employed. The majority of establishments undertake only the most basic cleaning, filleting, chilling, freezing and packaging processes, but 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 2005-06 the total value of exports (including live fish) remained steady at $1.5b (table 17.9) as Australia remained a net exporter of fisheries products. Rock lobster was the highest earning export, accounting for 32% of total value of exports of fisheries products. Value of exports of abalone, the second largest single edible fisheries export product, fell 7% to $246 million (m) while the value of prawn exports declined 18% to $134m. Value of tuna exports increased 9% to $177m. The highest value non-edible export earner, pearl, remained stable at $290m in 2005-06. (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 2005-06, Hong Kong continued as the major destination for Australian exports of fisheries products, taking $546m worth of product and accounting for 36% of the total value of Australian fisheries exports. Japan - the number two destination - accounted for 29%, with the products valued at $433m. The United States of America followed with $140m and China $103m. Western Australia was the highest earning state from exports of edible seafood in 2005-06, with income of $388m accounting for 31% of the total value of Australia's seafood exports. Western Australia earned $324m (84%) of this income from exporting rock lobster, South Australia earned 52% of its seafood income of $319m from fresh and frozen fish. Prawns earned Queensland 33% of its total income of $193m from exports of edible seafood. Tasmania ($145m) and Victoria ($132m) each earned about two-thirds of their seafood export income from sales of prawns.

The total value of Australian imports of fisheries products in 2005-06 rose 8% to $1.3b (table 17.9). The major items of imports, in value terms, were fish ($601m) - a third 'canned' and another third frozen fillets - prawns ($201m) and pearls ($159m). The two main source countries of imported fisheries products were Thailand ($272m) and New Zealand ($169m) which together accounted for more than a third of the value of imports. Imports from Vietnam ($132m) and China ($101m) continued to increase but at the much reduced rates of 9% and 12% respectively.

17.9 EXPORTS AND IMPORTS OF FISHERIES PRODUCTS(a)

2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
Exports
Imports
Exports
Imports
Exports
Imports
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m

Fish
Tuna (whole)
271.7
6.7
162.5
1.2
177.4
1.6
Other fish (including canned and fillets)
138.3
538.1
141.9
546.1
117.3
600.5
Total
410.0
544.8
304.4
547.3
294.8
602.1
Prawns
160.6
183.6
163.1
201.3
133.9
201.4
Rock lobster
426.8
7.1
439.6
8.1
489.4
10.2
Abalone
237.7
-
263.2
-
245.6
-
Scallops
34.9
22.0
32.6
27.5
38.8
30.8
Pearls(b)
310.4
145.1
291.0
145.9
289.5
159.4
Other fisheries products
71.5
203.8
47.9
241.9
55.0
260.7
Total
1 651.9
1 106.4
1 541.7
1 172.0
1 546.9
1 264.6

- 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, 2006'.

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 (mill.) square kilometres makes it an expanse 16% larger than the Australian land mass and the third largest fishing zone in the world. However, the catch is small by world standards as the waters of the AFZ lack nutrient-rich currents, causing low productivity.

While there are about 3,000 known species of fish, and at least as many species of crustaceans and molluscs inhabiting Australian waters, only about 600 species are fished commercially. The Fishery Status Reports 2006, produced by the Bureau of Rural Sciences, provides stock assessment information for 97 species (or groups of species) in fisheries for which the Australian Government has primary or shared management responsibility. Stocks were included in the reports if: they were a primary target; had significant catches; or were subject to a total allowable catch. The status of each stock was determined by its current size (biomass) and the rate of removals (exploitation rate). Of those assessed, 19 were classified as overfished and/or subject to overfishing, 27 were not overfished and the status of 51 were uncertain. Brief definitions of the main status classifications can be seen below (or obtained in more detail from the Fishery Status Reports 2006):
  • Overfished: stock biomass is below a prescribed level
  • Overfishing: fishing is exceeding a prescribed level.

Map 17.10 shows the status of 97 fish species (or groups of species) in Australia's Commonwealth-managed or jointly-managed fisheries in 2006.

Despite Australia's international reputation for its well-managed fisheries, these resources are particularly vulnerable to over exploitation. This is due to the low productivity of some areas of the marine environment and intensive harvesting by well-developed commercial and recreational fisheries. 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 structural adjustment program was implemented in 2005 to give stocks a chance to recover and improve profitability in the fishing industry by reducing the number of competing fishers. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has also taken further steps to halt overfishing and bring about recovery of overfished stocks. 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 noted in the Fishery Status Reports 2006 regarding less stocks subject to overfishing.

17.10 Status of Commonwealth-Managed or jointly-managed fisheries resources - 2006
Diagram: 17.10 Status of Commonwealth-Managed or jointly-managed fisheries resources—2006

Aquaculture

Aquaculture is an alternative to harvesting the naturally occurring mature fish stocks. It involves the breeding and/or 'growing out' of aquatic organisms with intervention in the rearing process designed to enhance production e.g. regular stocking, feeding and protection from predators. It has potential as a means of reducing fishing pressure on wild capture fisheries. In 2005-06 the gross value of production of aquaculture was $748.3m (table 17.11), or 35% 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 environmental areas 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. The industry directly employs about 4,000 people, provides development opportunities in regional Australia and contributes to export growth.

There are many types of systems used in aquaculture employing a variety of management techniques. 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 lake or an aquarium.

In 2005-06 the gross value of Australian aquaculture production increased 18% (table 17.11). Salmon ($221m) replaced tuna ($156m) as the species contributing the most to total gross value with a 65% increase in the value of its production. Pearl oysters and edible oysters followed with $122m and $84m respectively.In quantity terms, Australian aquacultural production for 2005-06 increased 16%. As in previous years, salmon, with a 27% increase in production, remained the major aquaculture product (19,219 tonnes), while edible oyster (11,995 tonnes) was the second most plentiful product.

17.11 AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION, Quantity and gross value(a)

2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
tonnes
$m
tonnes
$m
tonnes
$m

Finfish
Salmon
14 828
126.2
15 149
134.1
19 219
221.0
Tuna
9 558
243.2
7 458
140.0
8 806
155.8
Trout
1 857
14.2
1 915
12.9
1 955
10.8
Other(b)
2 396
24.4
2 732
27.9
2 833
27.8
Total
28 640
408.0
27 254
314.8
32 812
415.4
Crustaceans
Prawns
3 723
57.8
3 258
50.4
3 541
49.9
Yabbies
114.0
1.6
120
1.9
93
1.3
Other(c)
159.0
2.8
176
3.4
169
3.0
Total
3 997
62.2
3 555
55.6
3 803
54.2
Molluscs
Pearl oysters
-
122.3
-
122.0
-
122.0
Edible oysters
12 690
77.2
10 445
74.0
11 995
83.9
Other(d)
2 878
15.5
3 290
20.8
3 755
28.7
Total
15 568
215.0
13 735
216.8
15 750
234.5
Other fisheries production(e)
941
39.4
2 073
46.9
1 710
44.2
Total
49 146
724.6
46 617
634.1
54 076
748.3

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Excludes hatcheries production, crocodiles, microalgae and aquarium worms.
(b) Includes eels, aquarium fish and other native fish.
(c) Includes marron and redclaw.
(d) Includes mussels, scallops, giant clams and abalone.
(e) 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, 2006'.


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