November 6, 2013
The aquaculture industry has grown significantly and now accounts for almost half of Australia's fish production, Senator Richard Colbeck announced today.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Australian fisheries statistics 2012 annual report, which was released today, shows aquaculture has increased its share of Australian fishery product earnings from 30 per cent to 46 per cent over the last decade.
"Most of this increase can be attributed to the fast growing farmed fish sector. Farmed salmonids became the largest species group produced and increased earnings by 20 per cent in 2011-12. It remains Australia's highest earning fisheries product at a value of $513 million," Senator Colbeck said.
Senator Colbeck welcomed the growth in the aquaculture industry and said it vindicated the Coalition's plan to work with industry to develop a national aquaculture strategy.
"We want to further develop the aquaculture industry in Australia because there are huge opportunities to be had," he said.
"The fisheries sector is vital to regional economies and the tens of thousands of people employed in the industry. Our national aquaculture strategy will create employment in regional areas and support the sector so it continues to grow into the future."
Senator Colbeck said the report showed the total gross value of production of Australian fisheries increased 3 per cent to reach $2.3 billion.
"The health benefits of seafood are well known. With organisations like the National Health and Medical Research Council recommending increases in the dietary intake of seafood there is an opportunity to grow the appetite for seafood domestically and internationally," he said.
"Domestic consumption of seafood has been on the rise for over three decades. In Australia, we eat more seafood per year than the world average, at 25 kilograms per person. This is why the Coalition's plan to develop a national aquaculture strategy is so important."
Other key species of farmed fish include farmed tuna from South Australia, which increased in earnings by 31 per cent to reach $150 million; and farmed barramundi, which rose by $5.3 million to reach $41 million.
Senator Colbeck acknowledged the support and contribution of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) in the development of the 2012 Australian fisheries statistics report.
Full details can be found at daff.gov.au/abares/publications.