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Snapshot shows Aussie seafood booming.

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Media Release



Wednesday, February 17, 1999



Snapshot Shows Aussie Seafood Booming


Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Mark Vaile, today released a comp rehensive review of Australia’s fishing industry that shows the industry is booming.


“A Snapshot of the Australian Fishing Industry” details the health of the Australian fishing industry — with high value exports up dramatically, sustainable fishing practices being adopted quickly, and high economic and social benefits flowing from recreational fishing.


“Snapshot shows the seafood industry is worth nearly $1.9 billion a year. With annual exports at nearly $1.5 billion and growing at roundly 15 per cent a year, it’s now one of our top five food export earners for Australia,” Mr Vaile said.


“Snapshot clearly shows that Australia has been right to concentrate on high-value product and develop world-best practice fisheries and farm management. We are now reaping the benefits from high value exports such as rock lobster, prawns, abalone and tuna.


“Our expert management, catch, farming and handling practices means Australia can command increasing prices, particularly in Asia, our principal export market. The value of rock lobster alone is over $400 million, almost a quarter of all seafood export value, while pen-raised and wild-caught tuna exports are now worth over $100 million, up nearly $40 million in a year.


‘The seafood industry’s coordinated planning and efficiencies in production and marketing means it will become an increasingly important industry to Australia,” Mr Vaile said.


“Australians are also eating more seafood. We consume more than 70 per cent of our total seafood production ... as a result of the steady rise in consumption over the past 20 years, we now consume an average of more than 12 kilograms of seafood a year.”


Mr Vaile said Snapshot was an important first step in measuring the true value of Australia’s commercial, recreational and traditional fishing sectors for the domestic and export markets.


Australia’s fisheries, though vast are by international standards low yielding, with the Australian industry concentrating on quality and value of its harvest. The wild-catch sector actively participates with governments to manage fisheries for effective conservation. Aquaculture increasingly produces high-value products for domestic and world markets, including oysters, Atlantic salmon, Kuruma prawns, pen-fattened Southern Bluefin Tuna and pearls.


Snapshot also shows the community benefits of recreational fishing. More than 25 per cent of Australians fish. Significant benefits flow from recreational fishing to regional areas, including jobs in tourism, tackle, boating and charter industries.


Contact: Bruce Mills 02 6277 7520