IBISWorld reports soaring seafood consumption not matching growth in Australian fishing and aquaculture industries

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 13th January 2016

FishAustralia’s seafood consumption is expected to rise by approximately 5 per cent from 18.7 kilograms per capita in 2015 to 19.6 kilograms per capita by 2021 according to two new reports released by IBISWorld today.


The news is however not matched by growth in Australia’s fishing industries (which is classified to include prawns, rock lobster, crabs, octopus and scallops) and aquaculture industries (which is classified to include salmon, trout, oysters and crustaceans) with these sectors forecast to grow by only an annualised 0.9 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively from 2015-2021 despite the increase in consumption.


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, has been listed for the predicted increase in consumption. Depleting fish stocks, imports, catching quotas and increasing operating costs is why the seafood industry is not expected to grow at the same rate. In 2015-16, IBISWorld forecasts industry revenue of AUD$1.46 billion, forecast to grow by an annualised 0.9% over the coming five years to AUD$1.5 billion in 2020-21.


Australian fishing industry: statistics and predictions


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 has resulted in a decline for the fishing segment.


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


Australian aquaculture industry: statistics and predictions


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%).