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‘A bright future’: Aquaculture Australia’s largest seafood sector

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial fishing industry, has welcomed the release of the Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics 2020, which has shown aquaculture is now the largest sector of the domestic seafood industry.

“It’s no secret it’s been a hard 18 months for the Australian seafood industry, however the release of this report shows the industry is steadily moving forward and that needs to be celebrated ,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. 

“Australia’s aquaculture sector maintained steady growth, with the sector’s GVP growing 10 per cent in 2019−20. This growth can be largely attributed to Tasmania’s growing Atlantic Salmon industry, which is now worth 35 per cent of national fisheries and aquaculture GVP. Our aquaculture sector has a bright future as it continues to set international benchmarks by providing fresh, high-quality, sustainable seafood year-round, while meeting and exceeding regulatory requirements. 

“The report’s figures show the clear impacts industry has experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic with restrictions to the foodservice operations and international trade. We know these figures will be more pronounced in future reports, when the full impact of the ongoing trade rift with China will be seen. The current report has noted a decrease in the exports of rock lobster and abalone which were down 8 per cent to $1.41 billion over the period. 

“Domestically we saw a decrease in seafood consumption to 12.4kg per person, down from 13.5kg per person in 2018–19. This figure includes imported seafood products which accounted for 62 per cent of consumption, down from 66 per cent in previous years. Domestic seafood consumption volumes at a per-person-level are still well ahead of lamb, and the decrease is likely brought about by changes to consumer seafood purchasing behaviours aligned to COVID-19 restrictions and the changes to foodservice operations; where we know the majority of seafood is consumed. 

“We know Australians love to eat Australian seafood, so if you want to be certain you’re eating sustainable, healthy, world-class seafood that’s good for you and good for the planet, always ask for our Great Australian Seafood whether you’re at the fishmonger, fish and chip shop, or the local Thai restaurant.

“Independent information on the true sustainability of Australian seafood is now more accessible than ever thanks to the free, easy-to-use app of the Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports called ‘SAFS – Sustainable Fish Stocks’. This allows Aussies on-the-go access to true, correct and authoritative information on the sustainability of Australian fish stocks.

“As fishers, our priority is the ocean. We advocate the health, sustainability and future of our ocean. It’s our livelihood and the future livelihood of generations to come.”