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Part I Statistics and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

The Profile (2003)

    Additional information

    1. FAO Thematic data bases
    2. Publications
    3. Meetings & News archive

    Part I Statistics and main indicators

    Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

    Country briefUpdated 09-2015

    Australia has a coastline of 25 760 km, and an exclusive economic zone of nearly 11 million km2 which is the third largest in the world. The fishing industry is the sixth most important food-based primary industry and has a current annual landed value of AUD 1.4 billion and aquaculture production of AUD 1.0 billion in 2012/2013. In addition, recreational fishers contribute annually an additional AUD 2.5 billion to the national economy. Total fishery production in quantity was 232 600 tonnes in 2013 with 33 percent coming from aquaculture. Australian fisheries production has declined since 2005 reflecting a large decline of Australian spiny lobster catch. Aquaculture production was dominated by Atlantic salmon (55 percent) and molluscs (25 percent). Rock lobster, southern bluefin tuna, abalone, scallops, shrimps and prawns are the main marine capture species of export. In 2014, total exports of fish and fishery products were valued at USD 1.1 billion. In the same year, imports were valued at USD 1.7 billion. Estimated per capita consumption amounted to 26.2 kg in 2011. In 2013 the fishery sector provided about 8 600 direct employments (about 41 percent in aquaculture) with 15 percent of female workers. In 2011, they were around 2 170 vessels, 94 of which were less than 24 meter in length.

    In the 2010 report, 96 fish stocks across 22 fisheries were assessed: 56 stocks were classified as not overfished, 11 stocks were classified as overfished and 29 stocks were classified as uncertain with respect to their biomass status. The assessed fisheries included 10 that are managed solely by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) on behalf of the central (Commonwealth) government and 12 fisheries that are managed jointly with other Australian (State) jurisdictions or other countries through international arrangements.

    The Australian Government advocates an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management as part of implementing ecologically sustainable development. This requires a holistic approach to management that considers fisheries interactions with, and impacts on, bycatch species (including threatened, endangered and protected [TEP] species), marine habitats, communities and ecosystems. New Commonwealth marine reserves to meet international and national commitments are being established since 2012.

    Aquaculture in Australia is the country’s fastest growing primary industry, and accounts for 40 percent of the total gross value of production of seafood. The industry is coordinated by the National Aquaculture Council (NAC). Farming varies from southern Bluefin tuna-fattening in off-shore sea cages, to salmon where broodstock and production of fingerlings occurs in offshore and inshore waters, prawn farming in large-scale pond operations, mussels which are grown on marineropes, abalone which is farmed at sea and on land, marine finfish, freshwater species and pacific oysters.

    Australia is a party to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement, the 1995 FAO Compliance Agreement, and a signatory to the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. Australia has a National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks and of Seabirds, plus a National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (NPOA-IUU). Several fishery resources of commercial importance to Australia can only be managed effectively through cooperative regional action. Accordingly the Fisheries Branch of the Department of Agriculture (DAFF) provides:

    • policy advice and coordination on fisheries issues involving neighbouring countries;
    • seeks to secure cooperation from countries with whom we share resources to improve standards of fisheries management in those countries; and
    • seeks to influence the standard of regional fisheries management through participation in relevant regional bodies.

    General geographic and economic indicators

    Table 1 - General Geographic and Economic Data - Australia

    Shelf area 2 184 844 km2 Sea around us: http://www.seaaroundus.org/
    Length of continental coastline 59 736 km Australian Government: http://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/national-location-information/dimensions/border-lengths
    Fisheries and Forestry GVA (2015)

    AUD 5.3 billion

    USD 3.9 billion *

    ABS: http://www.abs.gov.au/
    * calculated with UN operational exchanged rate

    Key statistics

    Country area7 741 220km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Land area7 682 300km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Inland water area58 920km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
    Population - Est. & Proj.24.671millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2018
    Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area8 569 150km2VLIZ

    Source: FAO Country Profile

    FAO Fisheries statisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the Statistics and Information Branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent disseminated statistics.

    Table 2 – Employment and Fleet Statistics - Australia

          1980 1990 2000 2010 2012 2013 2014
    EMPLOYMENT (thousands) 14.70 14.70 13.60 11.40 10.60 8.60 8.70
      Aquaculture 0.20 2.00 4.30 3.80 3.60 3.60 5.10
      Capture 14.50 12.70 9.30 7.60 7.00 5.10 3.60
        Marine 14.50 12.70 9.30 7.60 7.00 5.10 3.60
    FLEET(thousands vessels) 0.94 0.32 0.32 0.31 0.31
    Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
    1) Due to roundings total may not sum up

    Please note: Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.


    Updated 2003The Profile

    This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.

    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at /fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_AU.pdf

    Additional information

    FAO Thematic data bases

    Meetings & News archive


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