1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Forestry and fishing


This chapter outlines the main features of two important primary industries in Australia – forestry and commercial fishing.

Forests are considered to be one of the most important biosphere regions on earth. They protect our soils and water resources, provide habitat for organisms, absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and are used for cultural, recreational and educational purposes.

Australia’s native and plantation forests are an important natural resource. They provide much of the timber and paper products consumed by Australians and support other products and services, such as honey, wildflowers, natural oils, firewood and craft wood.

The Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) covers the offshore area from coastal waters (3 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline) up to 200 nautical miles seaward to the outer limits of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). It is the third largest fishing zone in the world. Of the 6,000 species of marine and freshwater fish, crustaceans and molluscs occurring in the waters in and around Australia, less than 10% are commercially harvested.

The gross value added for the Forestry and fishing industry in 2009–10 was $4,445 million, a marginal increase over the previous financial year but less than 1% of Australia’s gross domestic product. Most of the material on forestry in this chapter was provided by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) and the (then) Bureau of Rural Sciences (part of ABARES from 2010). Most of the material on fishing was provided by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and ABARES.

This chapter contains a special article, Fishing co-operatives in Australia.

Related information can be found in chapters 1 GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE, 2 ENVIRONMENT, 16 AGRICULTURE and 20 MANUFACTURING.


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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.