Aquaculture increases contribution to Australia’s seafood production

Photo: Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Aquaculture has continued its steady growth within the Australian seafood industry, according to the latest edition of ABARES Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics.

ABARES Executive Director Dr Jared Greenville said the aquaculture sector has continued its recent growth, accounting for 56 per cent of the total gross value of fisheries production (GVP).

“In 2020–21 aquaculture GVP increased by 9 per cent to $1.7 billion, largely due to increased production of salmonids in Tasmania and prawns in Queensland,” Dr Greenville said. “Over the last two decades we’ve seen aquaculture grow, helping to boost overall fisheries production.

Dr Greenville said that, in recent years, the aquaculture sector has been broadening the composition of species produced, with an increased emphasis on prawns and finfish varieties, like barramundi and kingfish.

“Aquaculture has been quite a success story for Tasmania. In 2020–21 Tasmania had the highest fishery and aquaculture GVP, accounting for 38 per cent of the national total, followed by Western Australia (14 per cent) and South Australia (13 per cent).

“Tasmania’s fishery and aquaculture GVP increased by 10 per cent in the same year to $1.18 billion. In contrast, the GVP of wild-catch species decreased by 12 per cent to $1.4 billion in 2020–21, largely due to lower prices received for rock lobster in export markets.

Lower rock lobster production value was driven by trade and pandemic disruptions continuing to limit opportunities in export markets, Dr Greenville added.

“Overall, the GVP of Australian fishery and aquaculture in 2020–21 decreased by one per cent to $3.09 billion.

“Australians consumed around 356,000 tonnes of seafood in 2020–21, equivalent to 13.9 kilograms per person. And while imports made up 62 per cent of that total, this share has declined from the peak of 69 per cent in 2013–14.

“While Australians consume less fish than chicken, pork and beef, they consume more fish than sheep meat.”

Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics 2021 is supported by funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation on behalf of the Australian Government and is available here.


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