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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
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Production, processing, and exports and imports of fisheries products

Value of fisheries production

Australia's major commercially accessed species 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 15.5 shows the quantity (or volume) and table 15.6 the gross value of production of the Australian commercial fishing industry in 2001-02. The gross value of Australian fisheries production (including aquaculture) remained steady in 2001-02 at $2.4b following a 4% increase the previous year (table 15.8). Rises in the value of pearls and finfish other than tuna were offset by falls in abalone, prawns and other fishery products (table 15.9). In quantity terms, there was a 2% increase over the year in Australian fisheries production to 233,000 tonnes, with the catch of finfish other than tuna (up 12%) being the most significant contributor (table 15.7).

Australian fisheries production covers total production from both Commonwealth and state managed fisheries and from aquaculture. Commonwealth fisheries accounted for 20% of the total gross value of Australian fisheries production in 2001-02 (table 15.6). 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.

15.5 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Quantity(a) - 2001-02

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

Fish
Tuna
52
-
-
9,245
27
-
6
(c)11,806
(d)15,903
Other
12,844
4,784
13,814
16,852
16,456
15,546
4,438
(e)50,065
134,798
Total
12,896
4,784
13,814
26,097
16,483
15,546
4,444
61,871
150,702
Crustaceans
Prawns
2,162
107
9,955
2,631
3,497
-
-
(f)10,680
29,032
Rock lobster
103
472
436
2,392
9,050
1,522
-
330
14,304
Other
590
105
3,668
724
1,171
109
1,189
315
7,870
Total
2,854
684
14,059
5,747
13,718
1,630
1,189
11,325
51,206
Molluscs
Abalone
281
1,423
-
885
296
2,928
-
-
5,813
Scallops
-
550
3,120
-
1,975
-
2
11
5,658
Oysters(g)
4,916
-
116
2,425
-
2,188
-
-
9,644
Other
1,337
1,770
190
1,988
1,413
474
127
(h)1,531
8,830
Total
6,535
3,743
3,426
5,298
3,684
5,590
129
1,541
29,946
Other fisheries production
19
-
335
270
72
146
-
650
1,493
Total quantity
22,304
9,211
31,634
37,412
33,956
22,912
5,763
75,387
233,346

(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 down so as not to double count some Southern bluefin tuna caught in the Commonwealth Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery which was used as input to farms in SA.
(e) Includes the fish component of Commonwealth fisheries, plus catch from Commonwealth fisheries that cannot be disaggregated due to confidentiality reasons.
(f) Includes the Northern prawn, Torres Strait, South East and other fisheries.
(g) Excludes pearl oyster production.
(h) Includes squid, octopus and cuttlefish from the South East and Great Australian Bight fisheries, and pearl oyster from the Torres Strait Fishery.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2002'.

15.6 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Gross value(a) - 2001-02

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

Fish
Tuna
236
-
-
260,500
203
1
23
(c)132,585
(d)322,999
Other
41,399
26,783
94,194
27,981
40,243
115,789
19,855
(e)172,730
538,974
Total
41,635
26,783
94,194
288,481
40,446
115,790
19,877
305,315
861,973
Crustaceans
Prawns
32,964
1,391
134,400
47,731
46,380
-
-
(f)158,648
421,513
Rock lobster
4,752
20,540
5,067
91,862
305,267
64,619
-
8,852
500,959
Other
5,596
1,018
24,042
4,733
9,087
3,480
10,878
3,820
62,654
Total
43,313
22,949
163,508
144,326
360,734
68,099
10,878
171,320
985,127
Molluscs
Abalone
12,373
61,261
-
36,656
14,599
120,451
-
-
245,340
Scallops
-
1,283
15,077
-
6,574
-
4
86
23,024
Oysters(g)
31,538
-
620
13,303
175,000
11,566
-
-
232,027
Other
5,651
4,700
959
4,232
16,496
1,976
1,197
(h)2,488
37,699
Total
49,562
67,244
16,657
54,191
212,669
133,993
1,202
2,574
538,091
Other fisheries production
1,216
-
3,026
2,779
868
9,529
4,627
1,415
23,461
Total value
135,725
116,976
277,385
489,777
614,718
327,410
36,585
480,624
2,408,651

(a) Includes estimates of the value of aquaculture production, but excludes the value of 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 down so as not to double count some Southern bluefin tuna caught in the Commonwealth Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery which was used as input to farms in SA.
(e) Includes the fish component of Commonwealth fisheries, plus catch from Commonwealth fisheries that cannot be disaggregated due to confidentiality reasons.
(f) Includes the Northern prawn, Torres Strait, South East and other fisheries.
(g) Includes pearl oyster production.
(h) Includes squid, octopus and cuttlefish from the South East and Great Australian Bight fisheries, and pearl oyster from the Torres Strait Fishery.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2002'.

15.7 FISHERIES PRODUCTION, Quantity(a)

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes

Fish
Tuna
16,201
16,107
15,903
Other
113,454
120,118
134,798
Total
129,655
136,225
150,702
Crustaceans
Prawns
26,781
30,026
29,032
Rock lobster
20,312
16,837
14,304
Other
7,761
8,856
7,870
Total
54,854
55,719
51,206
Molluscs
Abalone
5,572
5,667
5,813
Scallops
12,014
9,197
5,658
Oysters
9,654
9,560
9,644
Other
8,495
10,766
8,830
Total
35,735
35,190
29,946
Other fisheries production
1,505
1,975
1,493
Total
221,748
229,110
233,346

(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: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2002'.

15.8 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
2,428
2001-02
2,409

(a) Includes estimates of the value of aquaculture production, but excludes the value of hatchery and inland commercial fishery production.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2002'.

15.9 SELECTED FISHERY PRODUCTS, Gross value(a)

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
$m
$m
$m

Prawns
415
453
422
Rock lobster
545
481
501
Tuna
257
329
323
Other finfish
454
484
539
Abalone
221
276
245
Scallops
43
40
23
Oysters
53
55
57
Pearls(b)
190
150
175
Other n.e.i.(c)
165
160
124
Total
2,344
2,428
2,409

(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 pearl oysters and aquaculture for NT.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2002'.

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 2001-02, the value of exports (including live fish) declined by 3.5% to $2.1b (table 15.10). Although the value of rock lobster exports fell by 8% (for the second year running) to $493m, this product remained Australia's highest earning fisheries export in 2001-02, accounting for 30% of the total value of fisheries products exported. Tuna, abalone and prawns were the next largest edible fisheries exports worth $319m, $263m and $263m respectively. Pearl exports earned $404m. (For some fisheries categories, the value of exports exceeds the value of production because exports are valued on a free-on-board (f.o.b.) basis which includes the value of packaging and distribution services to the point of export.)

In 2001-02, Japan continued to be the major destination for Australian exports of fisheries products, accounting for 34% of the total value. The combined value of shipments to the four largest export markets, Japan, Hong Kong, United States of America and Taiwan, fell $128m (7.9%). A 43% increase in exports in 2001-02 has resulted in China moving ahead of Singapore in the ranking of fisheries export destinations (table 15.10).

In 2001-02, South Australia earned $475m (29% of the total Australian value) from the export of seafood (i.e. edible fisheries products) half of which came from the sale of fresh, chilled or frozen fish ($263m). Western Australia, the next largest earner from the seafood export trade, moved shipments worth $428m with three-quarters of this sum coming from exports of rock lobster ($330m). Prawns earned Queensland $190m out of a total $378m worth of seafood exported from that state.

15.10 DESTINATION OF EXPORTS OF FISHERIES PRODUCTS(a)

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02



Country
$m
%
$m
%
$m
%

Japan
680
34.6
745
35.0
698
34.0
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
368
18.7
496
23.3
468
22.8
United States of America
187
9.5
192
9.0
172
8.4
Taiwan
211
10.7
180
8.5
147
7.2
China (excl. SARs & Taiwan Prov.)
42
2.1
51
2.4
73
3.6
Singapore
60
3.1
61
2.9
65
3.2
New Zealand
16
0.8
32
1.5
32
1.6
Thailand
8
0.4
18
0.8
23
1.1
Spain
19
1.0
31
1.5
19
0.9
France
21
1.0
13
0.6
13
0.6
United Kingdom
13
0.7
16
0.8
8
0.4
Germany
8
0.4
7
0.3
8
0.4
Other
331
17.0
285
13.4
326
15.8
Total
1,964
100.0
2,127
100.0
2,052
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 increased by 3% in 2001-02, to an estimated $1.2b (table 15.11), although Australia remained a net exporter of fisheries products. The major item of value imported in 2001-02 was pearls at $217m (although most of these are previous exports returning unsold). Other significant fisheries imports, in value terms, were frozen fillets ($207m), canned fish ($177m) and prawns ($167m). The two main sources of these imported fisheries products were Thailand and New Zealand.

15.11 SOURCE OF IMPORTS OF FISHERIES PRODUCTS(a)

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02



Country
$m
%
$m
%
$m
%

Thailand
241
22.1
244
21.2
233
19.6
New Zealand
156
14.3
164
14.2
174
14.7
United States of America
75
6.9
75
6.5
61
5.2
Vietnam
32
2.9
44
3.8
48
4.0
Japan
34
3.1
23
2.0
43
3.6
India
15
1.4
35
3.0
42
3.5
Indonesia
25
2.3
40
3.5
40
3.4
South Africa
34
3.1
37
3.2
39
3.3
Malaysia
32
2.9
36
3.1
35
2.9
China (excl. SARs & Taiwan Prov.)
14
1.3
22
1.9
30
2.5
Chile
23
2.1
21
1.8
29
2.5
Taiwan
22
2.0
26
2.3
24
2.0
Other
388
35.6
385
33.5
389
32.8
Total
1,091
100.0
1,152
100.0
1,187
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 15.12 shows the status of Australia's Commonwealth managed or jointly managed fisheries resources.

While some species are considered to be over-harvested, some 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.

15.12 STATUS OF COMMONWEALTH MANAGED OR JOINTLY MANAGED FISHERIES RESOURCES
Map - 15.12 Status of Commonwealth managed or jointly managed fisheries resources
Source: Bureau of Rural Sciences.


Management of fisheries

The Commonwealth has jurisdiction over the AFZ. Conversely, the states and the Northern Territory have jurisdiction over inland fisheries and marine waters up to three nautical miles seaward of the territorial sea baseline. To aid the management of Australian fisheries, arrangements known as Offshore Constitutional Settlements have been entered into, which transfer jurisdiction from the Commonwealth to the state or territory.

The Fisheries Management Act 1991 (Cwlth) is the main fisheries legislation, and applies to commercial fishing for swimming and sedentary species in the AFZ. The establishment of the AFZ in 1979 brought portions of oceanic tuna stocks, and demersal and pelagic fish stocks previously accessed by foreign fishing vessels, under Australian control.

The Fisheries Administration Act 1991 (Cwlth) establishes the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and specifies its functions. These include a duty to engage in appropriate consultation and to devise and implement management plans, adjustment programs and exploratory/feasibility fishing programs. AFMA establishes priorities for management-related research and arranges for such research to be undertaken. Details of these and other government legislation relating to the management of fisheries can be obtained from the AFMA web site, <http://www.afma.gov.au>.

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 regional development opportunities in rural 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 2001-02, the gross value of Australian aquaculture production was $733m, an increase of 4% on that for 2000-01 (table 15.13). This increase was mainly due to a $24.6m (16%) rise in the value of pearl oyster production, a $14.9m (30%) increase in the value of prawns and a $12.9m (13%) increase in the value of salmon produced.

15.13 AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION, Gross value(a)

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
$m
$m
$m

Fish
Salmon
84.8
99.2
112.1
Tuna
202.0
263.8
260.5
Trout
13.0
12.8
12.9
Other(b)
17.4
19.6
21.0
Total
317.3
395.4
406.5
Crustaceans
Prawn
51.3
49.5
64.4
Yabbies
3.7
3.4
2.1
Other(c)
2.1
2.5
2.4
Total
57.0
55.4
68.9
Molluscs
Pearl oysters
190.5
150.5
175.1
Edible oysters
53.3
55.1
56.9
Other(d)
7.3
9.0
10.6
Total
251.1
214.6
242.6
Other fisheries production(e)
59.5
42.1
14.6
Total
684.9
707.5
732.6

(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 Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2002'.

Table 15.14 shows the volume of Australian aquaculture production for the three years 1999-2000 to 2001-02, with the latest year showing an 8% increase in total. In 2001-02, production of salmon (14,356 tonnes, a 13% increase on the previous year) accounted for the largest share of aquaculture production while the next biggest contributors to the total were edible oysters and tuna. Prawn production increased by 31% to 3,696 tonnes in 2001-02.

15.14 AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION, Quantity(a)

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
tonnes
tonnes
tonnes

Fish
Salmon
10,907
12,724
14,356
Trout
1,887
1,950
1,864
Tuna
7,780
9,051
9,245
Other(b)
1,274
1,470
1,861
Total
21,848
25,195
27,326
Crustaceans
Prawn
2,909
2,819
3,696
Yabbies
284
276
173
Other(c)
125
147
134
Total
3,318
3,242
4,002
Molluscs
Edible oysters
9,654
9,560
9,644
Other(d)
2,057
2,566
3,083
Total
11,711
12,126
12,727
Other fisheries production(e)
337
480
270
Total
37,214
41,044
44,325

(a) Excludes NT; 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.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Fisheries Statistics, 2002'.

Recreational fishing

Results of a national survey of recreational fishing conducted over a 12-month period during 2000-01 showed that 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 (AFFA, 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 15.15). 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 - 15.15 Recreational fishing harvest - 2000-01

In 2000-01, Australian recreational fishers spent an estimated $1.8b on fishing related items, or 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.

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