Global Trends And Local Action Key To Australias Fishing Future

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
5 March 2010, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA - The gross value of Australian fisheries production has declined by around 30 per cent in real terms over the course of this decade, delegates at the ABARE Outlook conference heard in Canberra today.

ABARE’s Fisheries Manager, Robert Curtotti, said that the decline followed the sharp appreciation of the Australian dollar and changing trends in world fisheries production and trade. As a result, the real value of Australian fisheries exports has declined by 44 per cent since 2000-01.

“In 2007-08, Australia became a net importer of seafood products in value terms for the first time,” Mr Curtotti said.

George Kailis, Professor of Management at the University of Notre Dame in Western Australia, outlined future trends for the domestic fishing industry following this recent.

Professor Kailis said that since the 1970s, the Australian fishing industry had been characterised by exporting high value products, such as prawns and lobsters, while imports, although higher in volume, remained lower in value.

“However, in 2007-08 a key cross-over event occurred when both the volume and the value of imports exceeded that of Australian production,” Professor Kailis said.

“For the domestic fishing industry this cements a long-term shift towards domestic markets and consumers,” he said.

Ewan Colquhoun, Director of agribusiness and resources consultancy, Ridge Partners, said the fishing industry should have the opportunity to better inform the decision-making process, and that there was a need for targeted research and development.

“Trade-offs in how marine resources are used are necessary, and research and development can help resolve these trade-offs,” Mr Colquhoun said.

Executive Director of Recfishwest, Frank Prokop, highlighted to delegates the benefits of recreational fishing and its role in Australian society.

“Recreational fishing is a sizeable industry that provides significant health benefits and positive family activity opportunities,” Mr Prokop said.

Mr Prokop said the future of the sector will require an ongoing focus on responsible and sustainable fishing in which anglers have a key role to play.