AUSTRALIA a complex aquaculture industry From ‘boom or bust’ for key species groups of shrimp, salmon and tilapia!
ustralian aquaculture is in many ways at the crossroads. It clearly has potential but regrettably there are many things holding it back. Much of Australia has been based on the ‘boom or bust’ process and aquaculture is very much in that zone.
Setting the scene
First, we have to understand and accept that Australia is seafood deficient and already relies on imported seafood for around 75 percent of all seafood consumed. This has long been the case despite Australia having the world’s third largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) at around 10 million square kilometers. When you compare that with the size of the Australian mainland States and Territories, which is 7.69 million square kilometers, you can appreciate the size.
Australia is surrounded by both tropical and by temperate seas, but these waters are not particularly bountiful as far as wild fish are concerned and there are many scientific and geographic explanations for this. However, we must ask the question “has Australia really made the best uses of its water resources or have they been, so far, wasted by not embracing aquaculture, the world’s fastest growing primary industry?”
Reports that point to optimism
A Report was done on Imported Seafood by the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC) and detailed analysis of fisheries statistics, various reports and trade information from around Australia, revealed that: • The 193,000 tonnes of seafood imported in financial year 2008/09, some 250 species/ products from aquaculture and
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wild-catch fisheries, had a landed cost of Aus$1.3 billion and an estimated final sales value of Aus$4.5 billion • The business activities transacted in importing this seafood, from the landing port to the consumer’s plate added Aus$3.2 billion (4.5 minus 1.3 billion) to the Australian economy • Almost all the imported seafood was used for seafood consumption through the retail and the food service sectors • This quantity provided 72 percent of the fish and shellfish flesh consumed in Australia and underpinned more than two-thirds of Australia’s employment in the seafood post-harvest sector • Canned fish, frozen fillets, frozen whole and processed prawns and frozen squid products were the major imported items Just taking some very rough calculations