Despite soaring seafood consumption, fishing and aquaculture only see small growth

While Australia’s love of seafood is tipped to continue with business information analysts at IBISWorld forecasting overall fish and seafood consumption to rise by only 5 per cent – from 18.7 kilograms per capita in 2015 to 19.6 kilograms per capita by 2021.

Subdued growth is anticipated for the nation’s Fishing and Aquaculture industries, forecast to grow by an annualised 0.9 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively from 2015-2021. 

The ongoing rise in disposable incomes and health consciousness, coupled with rising awareness about the health benefits of certain types of fish and seafood, particularly salmon, is continuing to drive overall fish and seafood consumption – however industry challenges are expected to dampen revenue growth.

Ongoing depletion of fish stocks, increasing competition from imports and seafood farming, rising operating costs, and stricter regulation of catch quotas have hurt industry revenue. In 2015-16, IBISWorld forecasts industry revenue of $1.46 billion, forecast to grow by an annualised 0.9% over the coming five years to $1.5 billion in 2020-21.
 
Rock lobsters are the largest contributor to industry revenue accounting for 32.6%, followed by fish (32.4%), crustaceans including prawns, crabs and crayfish (20%), and molluscs including abalone, octopus, scallops and squid (14.9%).

Fish caught by industry operators account for the largest share of production – at more than 70% by tonnage – however increasing competition from Australia’s Aquaculture industry, particularly in the provision of popular fish products, such as salmon and trout, resulting in the fish segment decreasing as a share of revenue.

Sardines are the largest contributor to fish production volumes for the industry, followed by tuna, shark and flathead.

Aquaculture is one of Australia’s most lucrative primary industries, largely due to its emergence as the most viable solution to maintaining seafood production in the face of ongoing declines in national and global fishing stocks, however rising industry operation costs – including fuel and wage costs – are anticipated to impact industry profit margins, reducing revenue growth. Industry revenue is forecast to at an annualised 2.7% over the coming five years, from $1.2 billion in 2015-16 to $1.3 billion by 2020-21.
 
Australia’s Aquaculture industry accounts for just under 35% of all fishery production in Australia and approximately 45% of total fishery value, with production increasing by an annualised 4.1% over the five years to 2015-16. This growth emphasises the role that aquaculture has played in creating a more sustainable fishing sector in Australia by supplementing the declining volumes of seafood caught in the wild. The industry also benefits from maintaining a more consistent supply of popular species, such as salmon, due to the controlled farming environments.

Salmon and trout account for 48.9% of industry revenue, followed by tuna (14.8%), edible oysters (10.5%), pearl oysters (9.7%), crustaceans (6.8%), other fish (6.3%) and other molluscs (3%).

 

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