September 6, 2021


South Australian aquaculture industry reaches new heights


The value of South Australia's aquaculture industry has grown to $229 million in 2019-20, the office of South Australia Premier Steven Marshall said on September 6.


However, the value of commercial fisheries has slightly decreased, according to two independent reports released by South Australia's state government.


The increase in value of the aquaculture sector has led to a more jobs in the industry with direct employment in this sector now estimated at more than 1,000 full-time equivalent roles, with nearly 1,500 flow on jobs – an increase of about 5% from 2018-19.


The Economic Contribution of Aquaculture in the South Australian State and Regional Economies for 2019-20 found the total value of aquaculture production increased by 8% and total aquaculture production increased by 9% compared to 2018-19.


Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the report highlighted the strength of South Australia's aquaculture industry.


"To see the value of South Australia's aquaculture industry grow is a testament to those working in the sector in the face of a challenging couple of years," Basham said.


"Aquaculture is a crucial part of the state's economy supporting thousands of jobs with about 70% of these in regional South Australia.


"This is why the Marshall Liberal Government supported the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic by deferring payment of all annual fees for 2020-21 and any outstanding fees for 2019-20 until 1 January 2021."


Prized Southern bluefin tuna remains the largest single aquaculture sector, accounting for approximately 60% or $137 million of the state's gross value of aquaculture production in 2019-20.


The other three main sectors are marine finfish ($39.61 million), oysters ($24.95 million) and abalone ($11.97 million).


The overall increase in total value of aquaculture production was driven by tuna (6% or $8 million increase due to production and market price increasing), oysters (22% or $4.5 million increase due to production increasing), freshwater finfish (51% or $1.21 million increase due to production increasing) and others (206% or $5.56 million increase driven by microalgae production increasing).


The economic indicators for the Commercial Fisheries of South Australia Summary Report 2019/20 shows that the total catch from the states' commercial fisheries has seen an increasing trend since 2000-01, despite year-to-year fluctuations.


The report shows the total catch in 2019-20 was 48,448 tonnes, a slight decrease of 721 tonnes from the previous year's total of 49,169 tonnes, with sardines the largest volume fishery (total catch 39,889 tonnes).


The gross value of production across all fisheries in 2019-20 was $240 million, a decrease of $46 million in real terms from the previous year.


Basham said that, despite the drop in value, there were still approximately 4,300 full-time equivalent jobs directly and indirectly associated with commercial fishing in South Australia in 2019/20.


"It's been a challenging couple of years for our fishing industries with the uncertainty of COVID-19 and disruptions to trade markets leading to lower price to typically strong sectors such as rock lobster, prawn and abalone," Basham said.


"Despite these challenges, the commercial fishing industry has shown great resilience and still remains a key part of South Australia's economy supporting thousands of jobs across the state."


- Premier of South Australia