About this report

Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics contains comprehensive information on commercial fishing and aquaculture in Australia covering fisheries production, trade data, consumption and employment statistics. The report is aimed at providing statistical information for the fishing and aquaculture industry, fisheries managers, policy makers and researchers.

Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics has been published by ABARES since 1991 and is part of a suite of publications that provides annual economic updates for Australia’s fishery and aquaculture industry. Estimates of GVP provided in the report are used for a range of purposes, including to determine Commonwealth, state and territory fisheries research funding arrangements each year.

An overview of economic concepts in Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics is included to better communicate and clarify definitions and methodologies used for this report.

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Broad areas covered

The Production section can help answer questions such as:

  • What are the major commercial species produced in Australia?
  • Which fishery management jurisdiction produces the most seafood?
  • How much of Australia’s seafood is produced from aquaculture and wild-catch -fisheries?

The Trade section can help answer questions such as:

  • How much fisheries product does Australia import and export?
  • How much is that trade worth?
  • Where does imported seafood come from, and where does exported seafood go?

The Recreational fishing section provides a high-level summary of the participation level and the economic value of recreational fishing. It also provides a summary of recent jurisdictional surveys of the recreational fishing sector.

The Customary fishing and Indigenous aquaculture enterprises section provides a high-level summary of customary fishing in Australia, including how ‘customary fishing’ is defined. Survey results and some recent research are highlighted.

The Employment section provides statistics on employment in Australia’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. Data is presented from the most recent Australian national census on employment levels in commercial fishing and aquaculture, and in seafood processing and wholesale. Regional distribution of employment is also presented from the census in the form of a heat map for employment in commercial fishing and aquaculture.

The Profiles of Australian fisheries and aquaculture section displays the number of licence holders by selected species and fishing methods for all Commonwealth, state and territory fisheries.

Time series data on the volume and value of production, trade and consumption of Australian fisheries products are available for download .

Changes to the 2018 edition

The format and style of the 2018 edition of Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics has been updated from previous editions.

Statistical tables contained in the report are also available from ABARES fisheries data products. A longer time series for fisheries and aquaculture data is now available. Trade data presented are available from the early 1990s and all other data extend back to the late 1990s.

Commercial species names referred to in this publication are in compliance with the Australian Fish Names Standard AS SSA 5300-2019. In this report standard fish names for groups of species or species families are not capitalised and employ the use of initial capital letters. A concordance list showing previously used fish names against the fish names now used in this report is available in the Fish name concordance.

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Small discrepancies in totals for the data products associated with this report are generally caused by the rounding of components. A dash (–) is used to denote a nil or negligible amount.

n.a. is used to denote a number that is not available.

Species notes

Treatment of double counting for Southern Bluefin Tuna

Southern Bluefin Tuna sold from the farms in South Australia is reported at its full market value. However, the input value of those Tunas is also included as an output from the Commonwealth Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery. To avoid double counting, the input value is netted out of Australian totals.

Confidential data

For this publication some data is confidential. State and Commonwealth jurisdictions generally do not publish GVP information for species that are caught by less than five operators in a given fishing season. Catch data may also be confidential for the same reason. Confidentiality may also apply to some aquaculture operations. Confidential data is masked in this publication by grouping in “other” categories and is appropriately noted where confidentiality applies.

Applying the Australian Fish Names Standard to certain species groupings

Rock Lobsters

The terms Rock Lobsters in this publication refers to species of the Palinuridae family including the Western Rock Lobster (caught predominantly along the west coast of Western Australia), Southern Rock Lobster (caught predominantly along the southern coastline of South Australia and Victoria and along the coastline of Tasmania), Eastern Rock Lobster (caught predominantly off the coast of New South Wales), Ornate Rock Lobster (caught predominantly in the Torres Strait Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery and northern Queensland) and species from the Champagne Group (caught predominantly in northern Queensland).

Prawn and Prawns

The term Prawn and Prawns in this publication refers to all species included in the SFN Prawns Group (species of the scientific Penaeoidea & Caridea family), the Red Prawn, Giant Scarlet Prawn and Pink Striped Prawn (all three of these species belong to the scientific Aristeidae family), Royal Red Prawn (Solenoceridae family), species from the SFN Freshwater Prawns Group (Palaemonidae family), and Red Carid Prawn and White Carid Prawn (both species belonging to the Pandalidae family).


In this publication the term Oysters refers solely to edible oysters which refers to species of the Ostreidae family, including Pacific Oyster (produced predominantly in South Australia and Tasmania) and Sydney Rock Oyster (produced in New South Wales). Oysters used for producing pearl products are referred to as Pearl Oysters, species from the Pteriidae family. Pearl Oysters meat is not separately identified in the pearl sector.

Sharks & Rays

The term Sharks & Rays in this publication refers to the group of cartilaginous fish species from the Elasmobranchii (Sharks, Skates and Rays ) and Holocephali (chimaera) sub classes of the taxonomic Chondrichthyes class.


The term Salmonids in this publication refers to species from the Salmonidae family, including Atlantic Salmon, Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. In Australia predominantly Atlantic Salmon is produced.



Last reviewed: 30 April 2020
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