Australian seafood industry depends on exports, IBISWorld

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 24th August 2016

New research from IBISWorld has found Australia’s fishing and seafood processing industries are becoming increasingly dependent on lucrative overseas markets.

According to IBISWorld’s research, exports are contributing more than half the total revenue for the industry.

IBISWorld is predicting seafood consumption in Australia to increase by 1.1 per cent during the 2016-17 Australian financial year, reaching 18.3 kilograms per capita. This is almost 10 per cent less than at its peak in 2003-04 when it reached 20.3 kilograms per capita.

Tuna, salmon and trout are amongst the most frequently consumed fish in Australia, but several factors are effecting change.

“Seafood consumption has increased over the past five years due to rising disposable incomes, increasing concerns over health and obesity, and increases in the price of beef,” said IBISWorld Senior Industry Analysts, Nathan Cloutman.

“As a result, many consumers have switched to alternative forms of protein. Imports from overseas nations, particularly ocean fish and processed seafood, have also continued to increase,” he said.

Importing cheap seafood, exporting premium fish

“Australia generally imports low margin, cheaper seafood products, such as bass fillets, and exports higher value products, such as Tasmanian salmon, which foreign consumers purchase for its premium quality,” said Cloutman.

He however said free trade arrangements with South Korea, China and Japan have increased the quantity of seafood imported into Australia.

“Australians have traditionally preferred to consume Australian-grown produce and seafood, due to its perceived quality, and the economic and social benefits of supporting local industry. Some seafood products, such as salmon or snapper, will generally only be accepted by Australian consumers if they are Australian. Some other products, such as canned tuna, are purchased knowing the fish is processed offshore,” said Cloutman.