This report covers the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (CTS), and the Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector (GHTS) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF), with new survey results for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years and non-survey based estimates of net economic return for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years.
- Profit at full equity was positive and increased for the average boat in the CTS from 2013-14 to 2014-15 but was lower than the peak in 2008-09. In the GHTS, profit at full equity improved from negative to positive between 2013-14 and 2014-15, but the result in 2015-16 was lower than its 2008-09 level.
- Net economic return (NER) in the CTS increased in 2014-15 following three years of decline. Preliminary non-survey based estimates indicate that NER further increased in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years.
- NER in the GHTS is estimated to have been negative in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years. However, preliminary non-survey based estimates indicate that NER was positive in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years with 2015-16 being the first positive NER in the fishery since 2008-09
Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2017: Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery - PDF [2.5 MB]
Supporting data tables: Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2017: Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery - MS Excel [0.1 MB]
Authors: David Mobsby and Andrea Bath
This report presents results of the 2014 Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery survey, comprising survey based estimates of financial and economic performance for the 2013–14 and 2014–15; financial years, as well as non-survey based estimates of economic performance for the fishery in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years. Other indicators presented in the report include total factor productivity, terms of trade, management costs and quota latency.
Alongside the usual detailed information about the financial performance of the average vessel and the overall economic performance of the fishery, this report also provides analysis of additional economic indicators for the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF). The construction of these indicators draw upon the data collected through the fisheries survey program. Together with the financial and economic performance information, these indicators help to form a comprehensive picture of the economic performance of the ETBF over a number of years.
Relative fishing intensity, Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery, 2016.
- Profitability for the average ETBF operator was positive in 2013–14 and 2014–15. Profit at full equity, a profit indicator that assumes all assets are fully owned by operators, increased for the average boat in the fishery from $63,074 in 2013–14 to $250,973 in 2014–15.
- The rate of return to full equity increased for the average boat in the fishery from 4 per cent in 2013–14 and to 11 per cent in 2014–15.
- The rise in profit at full equity was largely a result of total cash receipts increasing proportionately higher than total cash costs.
- Crew costs accounted for the largest share of cash costs in 2013–14 and, despite increasing, did not change significantly as a proportion of total cash costs in 2014–15.
- Fuel costs were another large contributor to cash costs. Fuel costs decreased by 17 per cent in 2014–15, which could reflect lower fuel prices and reduced number of fishing days.
- Net economic return for the fishery increased from –$0.6 million in 2013–14 to $6.7 million in 2014–15.
- Higher net economic return in 2014–15 was mainly a result of fishing income increasing proportionately higher than fishing costs. Operating costs in 2014–15 were moderated by lower fuel costs.
- Preliminary net economic return in 2015–16 is estimated to have risen to $15.7 million. This was estimated to be have been driven by increased catch, higher prices of key species and a significant fall in fuel price.
- Preliminary net economic return for 2016–17 is estimated to have fallen to $7.3 million, reflecting a fall in fishing income.
Total factor productivity (TFP) analysis shows a rising trend of productivity in the ETBF, which increased by an annual average of 4 per cent between 2002–03 and 2014–15.
The terms of trade index, an indicator measuring the level of fishery output prices compared with input costs faced by fishers, generally declined between 2002–03 and 2012–13. Terms of trade improved in the ETBF from 2013–14 to 2014–15, reflecting a combination of higher fish prices and a fall in fuel prices in 2014–15. This had a strengthening effect on NER for the fishery.
Total management costs in the fishery have generally been decreasing since 2004–05. Management costs per vessel remained high from 2006–07 to 2007–08 when implementation of the Securing our Fishing Future structural adjustment package caused a restructure of the fishery. This is because similar management costs were shared among fewer vessels. Management cost per vessel has steadily declined since 2007–08. Management cost as a percentage of GVP declined from a high of 11 per cent in 2005–06 to 3 per cent in 2015–16.
Management through total allowable commercial catch (TACC) limits and individual transferable quotas (ITQs) commenced in 2011. The level of latency in the ETBF, measured by the proportion of TACC not caught in the fishery, has varied across the key species since 2011. In the 2015 fishing season, very low latency levels were recorded for yellowfin tuna and striped marlin. In contrast, latency for albacore, a relatively low unit value species, remained high in the 2015 season—nearly two-thirds of the TACC remained uncaught that season. In the 2016 season latency increased significantly for yellowfin tuna but declined for albacore, bigeye tuna and swordfish.
Issues for management
From March 2011 output controls were introduced for five key target species in the form of TACCs and allocated as ITQs to fishers that were operating in the fishery. This has provided fishers greater flexibility to fish with a more efficient combination of inputs. The transferability of fishing rights has also allowed quota to be allocated to more efficient operators. However, the success of output controls depends on setting levels of TACCs that meet the management objective. In the context of internationally shared stocks, setting TACCs at levels that maximise NER is complicated by uncertainty around the catch of other jurisdictions. Although NER in the ETBF is estimated to have been positive between 2014–15 and 2016–17, managers may need to consider adjustments to TACC settings if future economic performance of the fishery significantly deteriorates.
Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2017: Financial and economic performance of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery - PDF [3.2 MB]
Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2017: Financial and economic performance of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery - MS Word [2.8 MB]
Supporting data tables: Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2017: Financial and economic performance of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery - MS Excel [0.1 MB]