AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE REPORT: ‘FISHING FOR COMPLIMENTS’

Media release from the Australia Institute 22 October 2018                           

The quiet achievers of Tasmania’s fisheries”

A new report from the Australia Institute has found Tasmania’s non-salmon fishing industries employ over 1,900 people and produce 9,000 tonnes of seafood annually, with a gross value of $209 million.

The report, commissioned by the Tasmanian Abalone Council, presents the wider context of fish and the Tasmanian economy, which includes shellfish aquaculture, wild-catch commercial fisheries, recreational fishing and fishing tourism.

“Given the media attention on salmon, observers on the mainland could be mistaken for thinking that salmon is the only fish that the Tasmania produces,” says Bill Browne, author of the report and Researcher at The Australia Institute.

 “Tasmania’s non-salmon fishing industries are more labour intensive than salmon aquaculture, which means they employ more people relative to production.

“This makes these non-salmon industries important for employment opportunities and the health of the economy in the north of the Tasmania.

 “Whilst offshore caged aquaculture — the main method of farming salmon — provides the majority of fishing and aquaculture employment in the South East of Tasmania, for the rest of the state it is fishing and offshore aquaculture that provides the majority of jobs.

 “On top of that, recreational fishers spend about $93 million per year in Tasmania on bait, gear, fuel and accommodation and other goods and services and catch about 500 tonnes of fish.”

Table: Employment relative to million dollars Gross Value of Production (GVP) and tonnage produced    

Sector

Employment

Gross Value of Production ($m)

Tonnage

Employees per $m GVP

Tonnes per employee

Fishing

517

$182

4,679

2.8

9.1

Shellfish aquaculture

572–791

$26

3,685

21.7–30.1

4.7–6.4

Salmon aquaculture

794–1,013

$704

55,000

1.1–1.4

54.3–69.3

Gross Value of Production is calculated from the “beach price” or “farm-gate price” of the fish, before freight and processing are taking into account. 

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