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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2005  
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Production, processing, and exports and imports of fisheries products

Value of fisheries production

Australia's major commercially accessed species of fisheries products are prawns, rock lobster, abalone, tuna, other finfish, scallops, and edible and pearl oysters. Australian fishing operators concentrate their efforts on estuarine, coastal, pelagic (surface) species and demersal (bottom living) species that occur on the continental shelf.

Table 15.4 shows the quantity (or volume) and table 15.5 the gross value of production of the Australian commercial fishing industry in 2002-03. The gross value of Australian fisheries production (including aquaculture) in 2002-03 decreased by 6% to $2.3b after remaining steady at $2.4b in the previous two years (table 15.7). The major species contributing to the total value of production - prawns, rock lobster, abalone and tuna - all showed a decline during 2002-03 while minor contributors to the total value of production - scallops and oysters, as well as finfish other than tuna - showed a moderate increase in value (table 15.8). In quantity terms, Australian fisheries production increased by 5% during the year to 249,012 tonnes, with the catch of finfish other than tuna (up 8%) being the most significant contributor (table 15.6).

Australian fisheries production covers total production from both Commonwealth and state managed fisheries, including aquaculture. Commonwealth fisheries accounted for 18% of the total gross value of Australian fisheries production in 2002-03 (table 15.5). Commonwealth fisheries are those managed on behalf of the Australian Government by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. State governments manage inland fisheries and aquaculture, in addition to those salt water fisheries not managed by the Australian 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.


15.4 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Quantity(a) - 2002-03

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
Cwlth(b)
Aust.
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes

Fish
Tuna
31
-
-
9,000
38
-
6
(c)10,920
(d)14,621
Other
11,616
4,661
15,046
25,789
16,434
15,073
5,107
54,511
148,237
Total
11,647
4,661
15,046
34,789
16,472
15,074
5,113
65,431
162,858
Crustaceans
Prawns
2,077
89
10,554
1,740
3,934
-
-
(e)7,501
25,896
Rock lobster
122
484
628
2,361
11,477
1,409
-
579
17,060
Crab
480
8
3,776
706
1,129
52
547
9
6,707
Other
104
50
74
20
147
-
14
328
736
Total
2,783
631
15,032
4,827
16,687
1,462
561
8,417
50,400
Molluscs
Abalone
276
1,289
-
917
264
2,389
-
-
5,135
Scallops
-
636
1,536
-
6,794
269
1
435
9,671
Oysters(f)
5,000
-
-
2,364
-
2,491
-
-
9,855
Other
1,183
1,876
189
2,076
1,131
543
326
(g)2,428
9,751
Total
6,459
3,801
1,725
5,357
8,189
5,692
327
2,862
34,413
Other fisheries production
93
-
329
362
118
155
-
284
1,341
Total
20,981
9,093
32,132
45,335
41,466
22,383
6,001
76,995
249,012

(a) Includes estimates of aquaculture production (except NT); excludes hatchery and inland commercial fishery production.
(b) Total includes all fisheries under federal jurisdiction.
(c) Includes the Southern bluefin, Eastern tuna and billfish, Southern and Western tuna fisheries.
(d) 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.
(e) Includes the Northern prawn, Torres Strait, South East and other fisheries.
(f) Excludes pearl oyster production in Qld and WA.
(g) Includes squid, octopus and cuttlefish from the South East and Great Australian Bight fisheries, and pearl oyster from the Torres Strait Fishery.

Source: ABARE 2004a, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2003'.

15.5 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Gross value(a) - 2002-03

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

Fish
Tuna
113
-
-
255,600
249
1
20
(b)126,135
(c)305,261
Other
39,990
29,186
98,306
37,335
43,485
112,676
24,816
165,787
551,581
Total
40,104
29,186
98,306
292,935
43,734
112,677
24,836
291,922
856,843
Crustaceans
Prawns
32,131
1,141
141,334
32,447
45,807
-
-
(d)102,038
354,898
Rock lobster
5,441
17,356
7,356
82,666
281,023
51,707
-
14,342
459,891
Crab
5,027
374
25,347
4,445
6,907
1,584
5,035
57
48,776
Other
1,431
375
1,000
381
2,382
-
139
4,067
9,776
Total
44,030
19,246
175,038
119,939
336,119
53,291
5,174
120,504
873,342
Molluscs
Abalone
10,623
54,034
-
37,038
12,896
97,855
-
-
212,446
Scallops
-
1,215
7,528
-
22,831
452
3
778
32,807
Oysters(e)
34,566
-
680
14,008
175,000
13,169
-
-
237,423
Other
5,061
5,196
945
5,889
15,502
2,491
3,006
2,733
40,823
Total
50,250
60,445
9,153
56,935
226,229
113,967
3,009
(f)3,512
523,499
Other fisheries production
4,808
-
2,817
3,732
1,066
8,289
21,900
1,091
43,703
Total
139,191
108,877
285,313
473,541
607,148
288,225
54,919
(g)417,029
2,297,386

(a) Includes estimates of the value of aquaculture production, but excludes the value of hatchery and inland commercial fishery production.
(b) Includes the value of Southern bluefin, Eastern tuna and billfish, Southern and Western tuna fisheries.
(c) 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.
(d) Includes the value of Northern prawn, Torres Strait, South East and other fisheries.
(e) Includes the value of pearl oyster production.
(f) Includes the value of squid, octopus and cuttlefish from the South East and Great Australian Bight fisheries, and pearl oyster from the Torres Strait Fishery.
(g) Total includes the value of all fisheries under Commonwealth jurisdiction.

Source: ABARE 2004a, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2003'.

15.6 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Quantity(a)

2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes

Fish
Tuna
16,108
15,891
14,621
Other
122,047
137,315
148,237
Total
138,154
153,206
162,858
Crustaceans
Prawns
30,149
29,419
25,896
Rock lobster
16,835
14,322
17,060
Crab
7,892
7,229
6,707
Other
1,009
919
736
Total
55,884
51,890
50,400
Molluscs
Abalone
5,673
5,856
5,135
Scallops
9,173
5,607
9,671
Oysters
9,560
10,236
9,855
Other
10,875
8,985
9,751
Total
35,281
30,683
34,413
Other fisheries production
1,994
1,611
1,341
Total
231,313
237,390
249,012

(a) Includes estimates of aquaculture production (except in NT); excludes production of pearl oysters in Qld and WA, and hatchery and inland commercial fishery production.

Source: ABARE 2004a, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2003'.

15.7 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Gross value(a)

$m

1982-83
423
1987-88
828
1992-93
1,493
1997-98
1,883
1998-99
2,106
1999-2000
2,344
2000-01
2,439
2001-02
2,431
2002-03
2,297

(a) Includes estimates of the value of pearl oyster production and aquaculture production, but excludes the value of hatchery and inland commercial fishery production.

Source: ABARE 2004a, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2003'.

15.8 SELECTED FISHERY PRODUCTS, Gross value(a)

2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
$m
$m
$m

Prawns
453
429
355
Rock lobster
481
502
460
Tuna
329
323
305
Other finfish
490
546
552
Abalone
276
247
212
Scallops
39
23
33
Oysters
55
57
62
Pearls(b)
150
175
175
Other n.e.i.(c)
165
128
143
Total
2,439
2,431
2,297

(a) Includes estimates of the value of aquaculture production, but excludes the value of hatchery and inland commercial fishery production.
(b) Excludes NT.
(c) Includes the value of pearl oysters and aquaculture for NT.

Source: ABARE 2004a, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2003'.


Processing of fish, crustaceans and molluscs

In Australia very little processing of fish products is undertaken which adds value to the product. 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.

Exports and imports

Exports of fisheries products come under Commonwealth 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 2002-03 the value of exports (including live fish) declined by 12% to $1.8b (table 15.9). However, Australia still remained a net exporter of fisheries product. Australia's highest earning fisheries export product is rock lobster, which accounted for 25% of total value of fisheries product exports in 2002-03. Exports of rock lobster fell by 6% to $463m in 2002-03, continuing its decline of the previous two years. Exports of tuna, the second largest edible fisheries export product, remained at $319m while the next highest edible fisheries export products, abalone and prawns, fell by 18% and 21% to $216m and $208m respectively. The highest value non-edible export earner, pearl, recorded an 18% fall from $404m in the previous year to $332m in 2002-03. (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 2002-03 Japan continued to be the major destination for Australian exports of fisheries products, accounting for 37% of the total value. The combined value of shipments to the two largest export markets, Japan and Hong Kong, fell $78m (7%), while shipments to the third largest destination, United States of America, increased by 16% to $199m.

South Australia remained the highest earning state from edible seafood exports in 2002-03, with income of $449m accounting for 30% of the total value of Australia's seafood exports of $1.5b. South Australia earned $267m (60%) of this income from exporting fresh, chilled or frozen whole fish. Western Australia earned $421m (28%), most of which (77%) came from sales of rock lobster worth $325m. Prawns earned Queensland $108m (38%) out of a total $281m worth of seafood exported from that state.


15.9 EXPORTS OF FISHERIES PRODUCTS(a)

2000-01
2001-02
2002-03



Country of destination
$m
%
$m
%
$m
%

Japan
745
35.0
698
34.0
656
36.5
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
496
23.3
469
22.8
433
24.1
United States of America
192
9.0
172
8.4
199
11.1
Taiwan
180
8.5
147
7.2
93
5.2
China (excl. SARs & Taiwan Prov.)
51
2.4
73
3.5
74
4.1
Singapore
61
2.9
65
3.2
50
2.8
New Zealand
32
1.5
32
1.6
28
1.6
Spain
31
1.4
19
0.9
20
1.1
France
13
0.6
13
0.7
18
1.0
Malaysia
9
0.4
12
0.6
10
0.6
Greece
4
0.2
3
-
10
0.6
Thailand
18
0.8
23
1.1
8
0.4
Other
295
13.9
328
16.0
199
11.1
Total
2,127
100.0
2,053
100.0
1,797
100.0

(a) Includes non-edible products (e.g. marine fats and oils, fishmeal, pearls and ornamental fish). Excludes sea products landed abroad directly from the high seas.

Source: ABS data available on request, International Trade Special Data Service.

The total value of Australian imports of fisheries products in 2002-03 remained steady at an estimated $1.2b (table 15.10). The major items of imports, in value terms, were canned fish ($208m), frozen fillets ($204m) and prawns ($175m). The two main sources of imported fisheries products were Thailand and New Zealand which together accounted for more than a third of the value of imports. Pearls were again the leading non-edible import at $163m down 25% from the previous year.


15.10 IMPORTS OF FISHERIES PRODUCTS(a)

2000-01
2001-02
2002-03



Country of source
$m
%
$m
%
$m
%

Thailand
244
21.2
233
19.6
239
20.3
New Zealand
164
14.3
174
14.7
188
16.0
Vietnam
44
3.8
48
4.0
76
6.4
United States of America
75
6.5
61
5.2
52
4.4
Indonesia
40
3.5
40
3.4
50
4.3
India
35
3.1
42
3.5
42
3.6
China (excl. SARs & Taiwan Prov.)
22
1.9
30
2.5
40
3.4
South Africa
37
3.2
39
3.3
38
3.2
Malaysia
36
3.1
35
3.0
26
2.2
Canada
26
2.3
21
1.8
24
2.0
Japan
23
2.0
43
3.6
23
2.0
Taiwan
26
2.3
24
2.0
22
1.8
Other
378
32.8
397
33.4
358
30.4
Total
1,152
100.0
1,187
100.0
1,177
100.0

(a) Includes non-edible products (e.g. marine fats and oils, fishmeal, pearls and ornamental fish).

Source: ABS data available on request, International Trade Special Data Service.


Fisheries resources

The Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) covers offshore waters between three miles and two hundred nautical miles seaward of the territorial sea baseline of Australia and its external territories. This area of 8.9 million 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 insignificant by world standards as the waters of the AFZ lack nutrient rich currents, causing low productivity. Map 15.11 shows the status of Australia's Commonwealth managed or jointly managed fisheries resources.

While some species are considered to be over-harvested, fish resources such as albacore and Southern whiting are not being used optimally. There are some 3,000 known species of fish, and at least an equal number of crustaceans and mollusc species inhabiting Australian waters, but only about 600 are commercially fished.

The level of fishing activity has increased over the last decade to the point where almost all the major known fish, crustacean and mollusc resources are fully used. Some major species such as Southern bluefin tuna, gemfish and shark have suffered serious biological depletion.

15.11 STATUS OF COMMONWEALTH MANAGED OR JOINTLY MANAGED FISHERIES RESOURCES - 2002

Diagram 15.11: STATUS OF COMMONWEALTH MANAGED OR JOINTLY MANAGED FISHERIES RESOURCES - 2002

Source: Bureau of Rural Sciences.


Aquaculture

Aquaculture is an alternative to harvesting the naturally occurring fish stocks, and has considerable potential as a means of ensuring sustainability of harvesting yields. Australia's first experience with aquaculture was the farming of the Sydney rock oyster. More recently, operations to produce tuna, cultured pearls, salmon and prawns have become well established.

Aquaculture operations occur in diverse environmental areas including tropical, subtropical and temperate sectors. The location of aquaculture is dependent on seasonal factors, the type of species being cultivated, the stage of aquatic organisms in their life-cycle and proximity to marine parks. The industry directly employs about 5,000 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 - only about 10% of total production value is from freshwater species. 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 2002-03 the gross value of Australian aquaculture production increased marginally to $744m (table 15.12). Tuna remained the species contributing the most ($256m) to total gross value, followed by pearl oysters ($175m) and salmon ($109m), although all of them are less than their contributions to total value in 2001-02. Edible oyster, which increased by 10% to $62.4m, was one of the few products that recorded an increase in contribution to total gross value in 2002-03.


15.12 AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION, Gross value(a)

2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
$m
$m
$m

Fish
Salmon
99.2
112.1
109.1
Tuna
263.8
260.5
255.6
Trout
12.8
12.9
12.9
Other(b)
17.5
20.2
23.7
Total
393.4
405.7
401.2
Crustaceans
Prawn
49.5
65.4
56.9
Yabbies
3.4
2.1
1.7
Other(c)
2.5
2.4
2.3
Total
55.4
69.9
60.9
Molluscs
Pearl oysters
150.5
175.1
175.0
Edible oysters
55.1
56.9
62.4
Other(d)
9.0
10.6
9.0
Total
214.6
242.6
246.4
Other fisheries production(e)
43.3
13.9
35.0
Total
706.8
732.1
743.5

(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 all NT; includes value of species unable to be assigned to a specific category.

Source: ABARE 2004a, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2003'.


Table 15.13 shows the quantity of Australian aquaculture production for the three years 2000-01 to 2002-03, with the latest year showing a 2% decrease in total production. Except for trout, the production of all other species significant enough to individually identify fell during 2002-03 compared with the previous year. As in previous years, salmon was the major aquaculture product, (13,972 tonnes), followed by edible oyster (9,855 tonnes) and tuna (9,000 tonnes).


15.13 AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION, Quantity(a)

2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes

Fish
Salmon
12,724
14,356
13,972
Tuna
9,051
9,245
9,000
Trout
1,950
1,864
1,878
Other(b)
1,471
1,804
2,282
Total
25,195
27,269
27,132
Crustaceans
Prawn
2,819
3,757
3,403
Yabbies
276
172
125
Other(c)
147
133
130
Total
3,242
4,062
3,658
Molluscs
Edible oysters
9,560
10,236
9,855
Other(d)
2,567
3,082
2,918
Total
12,126
13,318
12,774
Other fisheries production(e)
480
342
495
Total
41,044
44,992
44,059

(a) Excludes NT; excludes pearl oysters, 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.

Source: ABARE 2004a, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2003'.


Recreational and Indigenous fishing

Recreational fishing

Results of a national survey of recreational fishing conducted over a 12-month period during 2000-01 showed 3.4 million Australians (2.3 million males and 1.1 million females) over the age of five years went fishing at least once in the period (DAFF, National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey). In addition, nearly 4% of international tourists visiting Australia were estimated to have engaged in recreational fishing. In the 12-month period, fishers caught and retained a total of 136 million aquatic animals, weighing in excess of 32,000 tonnes.

Just over a third of Australia's recreational fishers reported they went fishing mainly to 'relax and unwind' (37%). Another 18% fished 'for sport', and 15% 'to be with family'. Only 8% of recreational fishers considered catching fish for food as their prime motivation and only 4% were members of fishing clubs.

Most recreational fishing occurred in saltwater with coastal (41%), estuarine (35%) and offshore waters (4%) attracting over three-quarters of the fishing effort. The shore was the preferred location for 57% of fishers and line fishing (85%) easily the most popular fishing method.

Finfish (60.4 million) comprised the largest group of the catch retained by recreational fishers, with the main species being whiting, flathead, herring and salmon. It is also estimated that the 'bagged' catch of recreational fishers included 47.7 million prawns and yabbies, 11.5 million baitfish, and 6.1 million crabs and lobsters (graph 15.14). A total of 60 million aquatic animals were caught and released, with Murray cod, barramundi, wrasse, snapper and mud crab the most likely to be returned to the water.

Graph 15.14: RECREATIONAL FISHING HARVEST(a) - 2000-01


In 2000-01 Australian recreational fishers spent an estimated $1.8b on fishing related items - an average of $552 per person. Fishers reported more than 45 different expenditure items with expenditure on boats and trailers ($940m) the biggest individual expense. Travel associated with fishing ($395m) and fishing gear ($182m) followed in importance. More than 511,000 boats with a capital value of $3.3b were used for recreational fishing.

Indigenous fishing

The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey undertaken in the period June 2000 to November 2001, covered Indigenous persons aged five years and older and living in 44 coastal communities across northern Australia from Broome to Cairns. An estimated 37,000 Indigenous persons from these communities fished at least once in the 12-month period prior to interview. This represents a participation rate of almost 92%. They harvested aquatic animals from a range of environments, but inshore waters accounted for more than half the fishing effort. Indigenous fishers used line fishing (53% of the time), hand collection (26%), nets (12%), and spears (9%) as their primary fishing methods.

Indigenous fishers harvested a greater range of non-fish species (crabs, shellfish) than the recreational fishers and these non-fish species formed a greater proportion of the catch. Recreational and Indigenous fishers used similar fishing methods, but a higher proportion of the Indigenous catch was taken with spears and hand collection methods.

Using all methods, Indigenous fishers harvested more than 3.3 million aquatic animals from the waters of northern Australia. The harvest included approximately 910,000 finfish, 1,100,000 shellfish, 655,000 prawns and yabbies, 181,000 crabs and lobsters, and 98,000 small baitfish. The most prominent finfish species in the Indigenous catch were mullet, catfish, sea perch/snappers, bream and barramundi. Most prominent non-fish species were mussels, cherabin, other bivalves, prawns, oysters and mud crabs. As well, Indigenous fishers harvested a number of species groups that have protected status for non-Indigenous people, including crocodiles, turtles and dugong.

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