Seafood industry facing challenges

seafoodWhile Australia’s love of seafood is tipped to continue, subdued growth is anticipated for the nation’s Fishing and Aquaculture industries, according to business information analysts at IBISWorld.

Forecasts of overall fish and seafood consumption are tipped to rise by around 5 per cent – from 18.7 kilograms per capita in 2015 to 19.6 kilograms per capita by 2021.

This is in stark comparison to the projected growth of  the fishing and acquaculture industries, which is only forecast to increase  by an annualised 0.9 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively from 2015-2021.

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, is continuing to drive overall fish and seafood consumption , however industry challenges are expected to dampen revenue growth.

Fishing in Australia

Ongoing depletion of fish stocks, increasing competition from imports and seafood farming, rising operating costs, and stricter regulation of catch quotas have hurt industry revenue.

In 2015-16, IBISWorld forecasts industry revenue of $1.46 billion, forecast to grow by an annualised 0.9 per cent over the coming five years to $1.5 billion in 2020-21.

Rock lobsters are the largest contributor to industry revenue accounting for 32.6 per cent, followed by fish (32.4 per cent), crustaceans including prawns, crabs and crayfish (20 per cent), and molluscs including abalone, octopus, scallops and squid (14.9 per cent).

Fish caught by industry operators account for the largest share of production – at more than 70 per cent by tonnage – however increasing competition from Australia’s Aquaculture industry, particularly in the provision of popular fish products, such as salmon and trout, resulting in the fish segment decreasing as a share of revenue.

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

Aquaculture in Australia 

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 per cent 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 per cent of all fishery production in Australia and approximately 45 per cent of total fishery value, with production increasing by an annualised 4.1 per cent 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 per cent of industry revenue, followed by tuna (14.8 per cent), edible oysters (10.5 per cent), pearl oysters (9.7 per cent), crustaceans (6.8 per cent), other fish (6.3 per cent) and other molluscs (3 per cent).

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