Fishing for compliments: Fishing in the Tasmanian economy

by Bill Browne

Tasmania’s shellfish aquaculture and commercial wild-catch fisheries are responsible for 8,400 tonnes of production each year, with a gross value of $209 million. Between them, these sectors employ between 1,091 and 1,310 people across all four of Tasmania’s regions.

The distribution of fishing and aquaculture jobs varies across Tasmania’s four regions. Offshore caged aquaculture (the main method of farming salmon) provides the majority of fishing and aquaculture employment in the South East, but in the Launceston & North East and West & North West regions it is fishing and offshore longline/rack aquaculture that provide the majority of jobs.

Tasmania’s 92,000 recreational fishers spend about $93 million per year on bait, gear, fuel, accommodation and the other goods and services (employing 837–1,674 people, at a rough estimate), and catch about 500 tonnes of fish.

Each year, 6,000 tourists come to Tasmania specifically for fishing, but many more – about 42,000 – fish as part of their trip. In addition, 376,000 tourists last year ate at a local food producer, which could include Tasmania’s well-regarded seafood.

Between shellfish aquaculture, commercial wild-catch fisheries and local recreational fishers, Tasmania’s non-salmon fishing industries employ over 1,926 people and produce 9,000 tonnes of seafood annually.

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