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Economic contribution of fisheries and aquaculture in Tasmania

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By Milthon Lujan

Australia – New IMAS research has found Tasmania’s key fisheries and aquaculture sectors contributed close to $900 million towards the state’s economy in 2018/19, with the data set to help track the impacts of COVID-19 on industry in future years.

The recently released Tasmanian Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry: Economic Contributions report assesses the state’s six key sectors, including salmon aquaculture, rock lobster and scalefish fisheries, wild abalone and abalone aquaculture, and Pacific oyster aquaculture. 

“By identifying the contribution of each sector to Tasmania’s economy, this report can help contribute to the management of natural resources,” Project Leader, Dr Steven Rust said. “This is important as these industries are all accessing a public resource.”

The report showed that these sectors contributed a total of $878 million to the Tasmanian economy in 2018/19, known as gross value added (GVA). GVA is the value of all goods and services from an industry minus the cost of production.

These sectors also employed a total of 6,558 people, both directly and indirectly. Indirect employment is measured through associated industries like boat maintenance and fish feed supplies.

Dr Rust said that while the total GVA and employment numbers were good, it is important to see continued growth for our fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

“We note that as the 2018/19 data was pre-COVID, these negative impacts to the industry have not yet been recorded,” he said.

“However, the report data can now act as a baseline to help track and manage impacts to these sectors caused by the pandemic. This includes changes in the way fishing or aquaculture businesses operate, changes to natural resource management, economic or policy implications, and global influences.

The IMAS report found that salmon aquaculture made the greatest contribution to the economy, with a total GVA of $650 million. This includes a direct GVA of $230 million from fish production, and an indirect GVA of $419 million from businesses and households spending money in other parts of the economy supported by salmon production.

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In 2018/19, salmon aquaculture also employed 1,812 people directly, and indirectly employed 3,191 people in related industries for that year.

The rock lobster fishery was the second highest contributor to the state economy and employment, with a GVA of $100 million. This included $66 million generated from catch and production, and $34 million spent by households and businesses in related economic areas.

The rock lobster fishery directly employed 341 people and indirectly employed 270 people in 2018/19.

This report will now be used in future years to help measure the economic impacts of COVID-19 on Tasmania’s fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

This report was funded under the Sustainable Marine Resource Collaboration Agreement. It was undertaken by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, in collaboration with BDO EconSearch.

Source: IMAS

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