Find Fisheries expertise in Australia

Agriculture, forestry and fishing make up 3% of Australia’s GDP (2008), while commercial fishing and the aquaculture industry is worth over $2 billion annually and employs around 16,000 people (9,700 directly and 6,200 indirectly) (2010).  Australia’s fishing zone is the world’s third largest (total of 8,148,250 km2) and it has a coastline of 36,735 km, but the waters lack nutrient-rich currents and, consequently, have low productivity. This may explain why Australia is only ranked 52nd in the world in terms of volume landed.

The catch profile is constituted by high value export species such as lobsters, prawns, tuna, salmon and abalone. Around 60% of Australia’s fishery production is exported, whilst the majority of aquaculture products are also exported. In 2005-2006, Hong Kong overtook Japan as Australia’s main export market for edible fisheries products. In value, 33% of edible fisheries products were exported to Hong Kong ($396 million) and 31% were exported to Japan ($371 million). The main edible fisheries products exported to Hong Kong are rock lobster and abalone.

The vast majority of Australia’s catch is marine as the inland fisheries are relatively small and declining due to low rainfall, few river systems and the cessation of commercial fishing in the Murray River. The three high value species of shrimp, lobster and abalone dominate the sector, contributing 49% of the value, though only 23% of production. Other major species include oysters, tuna, scallops and a variety of marine and estuarine fish.

Aquaculture occurs throughout Australia, from the tropical north to the temperate south. Most of the value of Australian aquaculture production comes from high value species such as pearls, salmonids and tuna but there are over forty species commercially produced in Australia.  Shrimp fisheries dominate production in the northern Queensland areas, while abalone and rock lobsters are important in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.  Aquaculture is a developing industry in Australia but continues to grow, largely due to the growth of the southern Bluefin tuna farming in South Australia contributing nearly half of the value of all aquaculture activities, and pearl culture which contributed about a quarter.

Quotas have been introduced in some of the fisheries to reduce fishing to sustainable levels.

Fisheries organisations in Australia
Age, The
Antarctic Fisheries
Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)
Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery
Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands Fisheries
Coral Sea Fishery
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery
Norfolk Island Fishery
North West Slope Trawl Fishery
Northern Prawn Fishery
Skipjack Tuna Fisheries
Small Pelagic Fishery
South Tasman Rise
Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery
Southern Squid Jig Fishery
Torres Strait Regional Authority, The
Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery
Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery