Australia as a nation with the world’s third largest fishing zone imports 70% of our seafood, it is estimated edible seafood Australians consume (by weight) is imported, predominantly from Asia.
* Australia exports $1.5b of edible seafood and imports $2.1b of edible seafood;
* Australia’s commercial seafood production only provides 30% of domestic demand
As a nation with the world’s third largest fishing zone we import 70% of our seafood
Of the 70% of seafood we import to eat, 52% of it, in terms of both value and weight, comes from three countries:
* Thailand 26%;
* China 14%; and
* Vietnam 12%
It has been estimated that around 70 per cent of the edible seafood Australians consume (by weight) is imported, predominantly from Asia.
A significant proportion of Australian product, which could otherwise supply the domestic market, is sold to export markets
Almost all canned tuna sold in Australia comes from Thailand, which produces around half of the canned tuna traded in the world.
Over half of imported fish by value are fresh, chilled or frozen, while approximately 40% arrives in cans. New Zealand is a significant source of Australia’s imports of fresh and frozen fish (predominantly hoki, salmonids and shark), with South Africa, Argentina and Namibia also contributing large volumes of hake. Denmark, New Zealand and Norway are the main sources of imported farmed Salmon. Imports from China and Vietnam have increased over recent years, dominated by imports of frozen prawns, squid and octopus.
Tuna is our major canned seafood import with the majority coming from Thailand. Other major canned imports are salmon, mainly from the USA, and sardines, mainly from the UK.
Australia now imports more seafood than we produce for domestic consumption. Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide includes assessments of the sustainability of the major imported produce available on our supermarket shelves, in restaurants and in our fish and chips.
However, sourcing information on the fisheries from which much of our imported produce comes from can be problematic. For example, the majority of imported squid and octopus come from China and Vietnam, and finding detailed, fishery specific and accessible information is a challenge.