South Australia aquaculture industry reports $229 million growth in 2019-20

Southern Bluefin Tuna (Photo: Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association)

The value of South Australia’s aquaculture industry has grown to $229 million in 2019-20, though the value of commercial fisheries has slightly decreased, with the release of two independent reports earlier this week by the state government.

The increase in value of the aquaculture sector has also led to a more jobs in the industry with direct employment in this sector now estimated at more than 1,000 full-time equivalent roles, with nearly 1,500 flow on jobs – an increase of about five per cent from 2018-19.

The Economic Contribution of Aquaculture in the South Australian State and Regional Economies for 2019-20 found the total value of aquaculture production increased by eight per cent and total aquaculture production increased by nine per cent compared to 2018-19.

Prized Southern Bluefin Tuna remains the largest single aquaculture sector, accounting for approximately 60 per cent or $137 million of the state’s gross value of aquaculture production in 2019-20.

The other four main sectors are Marine Finfish ($39.61 million), Oysters ($24.95 million) and Abalone ($11.97 million).

The overall increase in total value of aquaculture production was driven by:

  • Tuna – six per cent or $8 million increase due to production and market price increasing
  • “Other” – 206 per cent or $5.56 million increase driven by microalgae production increasing
  • Oysters – 22 per cent or $4.5 million increase due to production increasing
  • Freshwater Finfish – 51 per cent or $1.21 million increase due to production increasing

The Economic Indicators for the Commercial Fisheries of South Australia Summary Report 2019/20 shows that the total catch from South Australia’s commercial fisheries has seen an increasing trend since 2000-01, despite year-to-year fluctuations.

The report shows the total catch in 2019-20 was 48,448 tonnes, a slight decrease of 721 tonnes from the previous year’s total of 49,169 tonnes, with sardines the largest volume fishery (total catch 39,889 tonnes).

The Gross Value of Production across all fisheries in 2019-20 was $240 million, a decrease of $46 million in real terms from the previous year.


Published since 1978, Ausmarine is the foremost magazine servicing the Australian and New Zealand commercial, military and government marine sectors.