Employment 2018

Figure 1
Source: ABARES

 

Tasmania is the largest employer in the fisheries and aquaculture sector

In the release of Australian Industry, 2017–18 the ABS estimated that in 2017–18 the fishing and aquaculture industry employed 17,000 people (Figure 26) (ABS 2019b). This compares with 16,000 people in 2016–17. The additional 1,000 people employed in 2017–18 were accounted for by an increased in the fishing workforce. Of the 17,000 people employed in 2017–18, 11,000 people were employed in fishing and 6,000 people were employed in aquaculture. Although employment increased in 2017–18, the total workforce that year was 5,000 people lower than the workforce in 2007–08.

The data provided in Australian Industry uses data obtain by the ABS through its annual Economic Activity Survey. This differs from previously provided employment statistics used in Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics which used data from the ABS series Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly which contains data collected from the ABS Labour Force Survey component of the Monthly Population Survey.

Figure 26 Employment in Fisheries and aquaculture sectors, 2007–08 to 2017–18
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Source: ABS 2019b

The 2016 ABS Census is the most recent survey detailing employment in the fishing industry by sector and by state. Commercial fishing, hunting and trapping and aquaculture activities employed 9,745 people—59% (5,777 people) were engaged in commercial fishing, hunting and trapping activities and 41% (3,968 people) in aquaculture activities. Fish wholesaling and seafood processing employed 4,013 people—62% (2,477 people) were employed in fish wholesaling and 38% (1,536 people) in seafood processing.

The offshore longline and rack aquaculture sector employed the largest number of people (1,406), followed by rock lobster and crab potting (1,106). By state, excluding fishing, hunting and trapping, Queensland employed the largest number of people in the wild-catch sector (1,274), followed by Western Australia (1,091) and South Australia (968). Tasmania employed the largest number of people in the aquaculture sector (1,585 people), followed by New South Wales (675) and South Australia (568).

TABLE 5 Estimated employment in the Australian commercial fishing and aquaculture industry, 2016 a
Category NSW no. Vic. no. Qld no. SA  no. WA no. Tas. no. NT no. ACT no. Australia no.
Aquaculture 84 142 118 156 92 139 8 0 737
Onshore aquaculture 106 104 334 152 74 120 17 0 913
Offshore longline and rack aquaculture 453 19 103 220 77 532 3 0 1,406
Offshore caged aquaculture 32 29 11 40 11 794 0 0 912
Rock lobster and crab potting 42 66 81 189 544 164 12 0 1,106
Prawn fishing 64 0 167 76 61 0 14 0 392
Line fishing 6 7 12 18 4 3 0 0 58
Fish trawling, seining and netting 11 11 28 22 3 0 0 0 80
Fishing, hunting and trapping 260 196 276 89 99 45 18 7 997
Other fishing 673 299 710 574 380 316 173 0 3,144
Fishing and aquaculture total 1,731 873 1,840 1,536 1,345 2,113 245 7 9,745
Seafood processing 202 173 221 321 266 349 5 0 1,536
Fish and seafood wholesaling 668 625 604 191 258 109 16 7 2,477
Processing and wholesaling total 870 798 825 512 524 458 21 7 4,013
Grand total 2,606 1,667 2,668 2047 1,875 2,586 282 18 13,755

a Based on 2016 ABS Census data. Categories are consistent with ANZSIC 2006.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

The 2016 ABS Census is the most recent survey detailing employment in the fishing industry by sector and by state. Commercial fishing, hunting and trapping and aquaculture activities employed 9,745 people—59 % (5,777 people) were engaged in commercial fishing, hunting and trapping activities and 41 % (3,968 people) in aquaculture activities. Fish wholesaling and seafood processing employed 4,013 people—62 % (2,477 people) were employed in fish wholesaling and 38 % (1,536 people) in seafood processing.

The offshore longline and rack aquaculture sector employed the largest number of people (1,406), followed by rock lobster and crab potting (1,106). By state, excluding fishing, hunting and trapping, Queensland employed the largest number of people in the wild-catch sector (998), followed by Western Australia (992) and South Australia (879). Tasmania employed the largest number of people in the aquaculture sector (1,585 people), followed by New South Wales (675) and South Australia (568).

Map 3 Employment in the Australian commercial fishing and aquaculture industry, 2016
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Source: ABARES, ABS
Last reviewed: 30 April 2020
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