26 September 2023

Virus tipped to hit fish industry

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A new report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has revealed that the spread of COVID-19 will likely have a significant short-term impact on Australia’s seafood industry.

Chief Commodity Analyst at ABARES, Peter Gooday said the report Australian fisheries and aquaculture outlook 2020 forecast a 12 per cent slide in seafood production value to $2.81 billion this financial year.

“The magnitude of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is uncertain and depends on the extent of the outbreak, its duration and the effectiveness of control measures,” Mr Gooday said.

“Because of this, the effects of the outbreak could last beyond the 2019–20 financial year.”

He said an expected $389 million drop in fisheries and aquaculture value would be driven largely by a drop in demand from China for live seafood following the outbreak.

“In 2018–19, China was the destination for approximately 94 per cent of Australia’s $752 million of rock lobster exports and 42 per cent of Australia’s $194 million of abalone exports.”

Mr Gooday said China was the major export destination for Australian seafood products, accounting for 58 per cent of Australia’s total fisheries export value in 2018-19.

He said that despite the immediate disruption, the outlook for Australia’s trade in fisheries products remained healthy, with export values projected to rise by 3 per cent between 2021–22 and 2024–25 to $1.64 billion.

“Growing incomes and populations in our near region are the key drivers behind the growth in export value,” he said.

The 12-page ABARES report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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