Output 7 % yoy $170m est

Aquaculture production value increase

12 % yoy

Value of fisheries imports is


times greater than exports

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Increase in the value of wild caught fisheries sector

Based on DPI analysis, the value of the fishing industry in 2017-18 is estimated to be $170 million, up 7% year-on-year. In addition to a provisional increase of 12% achieved by the aquaculture sector, the wild caught sector is estimated to have increased by 3%.

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NSW DPI partners with Oceanwatch

NSW DPI has partnered with OceanWatch Australia to expand the Master Fisherman program to promote sustainability in the state’s seafood industry. The Program is designed to enhance the knowledge, skills and professionalism of local fishers and ensure environmentally friendly practices. The program has seen a reduction in bycatch and improved workplace health and safety, as well as improved animal welfare and marine pest management.

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A bright new future for commercial fishing

NSW DPI has introduced the biggest reform in commercial fishing in two decades - new quota and management arrangements. Less red tape, linkages between shares and catch or effort and more certainty for fishers to grow their businesses will lead to a new and economically viable industry where people can invest with more confidence.

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State’s largest fish farm begins harvest

NSW DPI and Huon Aquaculture are conducting a five-year pilot-scale aquaculture trial to assess the viability and sustainability of Yellowtail Kingfish in sea pens. The first harvest at Port Stephens occurred in early 2018 and landed on consumer’s plates via the Sydney Fish Markets and Newcastle Commercial Fishermen’s Co-operative. The trial not only provides local high-quality seafood, but is seeing more jobs, traineeships and investment into the local Hunter economy.

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World’s finest pearls thriving in NSW

NSW DPI has been supporting a fledgling pearl industry in NSW through the provision of juvenile oysters since 1999. Every oyster the operation has used over the last 15 years has been hatchery bred (spawned and raised to 2mm) by DPI. Producing some of the best Akoya cultured pearls in the world, they are now being distributed through independent jewellers throughout the country.

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Sydney Rock Oysters

NSW DPI has been developing selectively bred Sydney Rock Oysters for industry since 1990. The breeding program now offers families of oysters that are climate change ¬resistant, as well as families that grow 30% faster, are over 70% resistant to QX disease and maintain market condition.

At the date of publication, detailed industry Output figures for the wild caught and aquaculture sectors are not available. The following commentary analyses 2016-17 industry trends.

Wild Caught

The total value of the wild caught sector was $89.3 million in 2016–17, down 2.4% year-on-year, and accounting for 56.1% of the total value of the fishing industry46.

Fish are the biggest contributor by volume to the wild caught sector, however landings (tonnes) declined by 14% year-on-year, marking the third consecutive year of reductions (2% in 2015–16 and 14% in 2014–15). In contrast, landings for crustaceans and molluscs both increased year-on-year (2% and 12% respectively). There was an overall decline in catch volume of 10% year-on-year46.




The total value of aquaculture production was $70 million in 2016–17, up 8% year-on-year, accounting for 43.9% of the total value of the fishing industry45.

Sydney rock oysters made up 58% of the total value of aquaculture production, up 10% year-on-year.  Similarly, black tiger prawns accounted for 11% of the total value of aquaculture production, up 31% year-on-year. In both cases, growth was driven by increases in the volume of production and the average price received by farmers45.


  • Crustaceans Crustaceans
  • Black tiger prawn
  • Yabby
  • Yabby (bait)
  • Molluscs Molluscs
  • Sydney rock oyster
  • Pacific oyster
  • Native oyster
  • Oyster spat
  • Fish Fish
  • Barramundi
  • Golden perch
  • Murray cod
  • Rainbow trout
  • Silver perch
  • Hatchery species
  • Others
Source: DPI (2018b)

Exports and Imports

As is the case for other developed countries, Australia is a net importer of seafood — domestic demand for seafood products outstrips supply. However, most of Australia’s high-value seafood products that could supply the domestic market are exported as higher prices are available in global markets50. Seafood imports are generally lower-value products, such as frozen fish fillets, prawns and canned fish50.

NSW exports of fisheries products for 2017–18 were valued at $9.3 million, compared with imports of $593.9 million. The top five export markets were Japan, Vietnam, New Zealand,  Thailand and China. Interestingly, imports were from similar regions, with the top five countries of origin Thailand, China, Vietnam, New Zealand and Malaysia54.

Exports and Imports

Top 5 destinations for NSW Fisheries
exports 2017-18

Top 5 origins of NSW Fisheries
imports 2017-18

  • $2.0m 21.8%
  • $1.6m 16.8%
  • $1.2m 12.7%
  • $1.6m 17.2%
  • $2.2m 24.1%
  • Malaysia
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • China
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • $37.6m 6.3%
  • $70.0m 11.8%
  • $137.8m 23.2%
  • $76.5m 12.9%
  • $61.8m 10.4%
Source: GTA (2018)