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Aquaculture and Wild Catch

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Seafood industry. The Seafood industry can be described as having five key areas:

  • Aquaculture (offshore and onshore)
  • Fishing (commercial)
  • Seafood processing
  • Fishery compliance
  • Seafood wholesaling.

The industry includes more than 7,186 commercial businesses that collectively employ approximately 12,715 people. Nearly 70% of these businesses focus on fishing. Over 60% of commercial businesses are non-employing operations, and over 30% employ fewer than 20 people. Small businesses generally sell to local markets. Large operators are generally vertically integrated and dominate the larger markets. Total sales turnover of the combined Aquaculture, Commercial Fishing and Seafood Processing sectors increased by 6% (or $275 million) to $4.8 billion between 2014–15 and 2015–16.

Nationally recognised training for the Seafood industry is delivered under the SFI Seafood Industry Training Package.

For information on Food Production and other Agriculture sectors please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Aquaculture and Wild Catch 2018 IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level in the Aquaculture, Fishing and Seafood Processing industries fluctuated between 2000 and 2017. Following initial declines in employment from 2000 to 2012–14, there has been an increase in employment in all sectors in recent years. In 2017 there were around 7,500 workers employed in the Aquaculture industry, which is expected to decline to 6,400 in 2022. There were around 8,500 workers employed in the Fishing industry in 2017, which is expected to remain stable to 2022. There were around 3,700 workers in the Seafood Processing industry in 2017, which is expected to increase to 5,500 in 2022.

In the Aquaculture industry, the occupation with the largest proportion of employment is Aquaculture Farmers (33.4%) followed by Aquaculture Workers (11.4%). While employment for Aquaculture Farmers is expected to decline by 2022, it is expected to increase for Aquaculture Workers.

In the Fishing industry, the occupation with the largest proportion of employment is Deck and Fishing Hands (53.4%). This occupation is expected to increase in employment by 8.4% in 2022.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments for the Seafood Industry Training Package declined slightly between 2014 and 2017, from 1,580 program enrolments in 2014 down to 1,385 program enrolments in 2017. Completions remained fairly stable between 2014 and 2017. Subject-only enrolments declined between 2014 and 2016 before rising in 2017, to 312.

Certificate II level qualifications were the most common in 2017 with 627 enrolments, followed by certificate III level qualifications and certificate I level qualifications. There were less than 140 enrolments at the certificate IV and higher levels. Almost three-quarters of program enrolments were in aquaculture qualifications. The majority of training is intended to lead to the occupation of Aquaculture Worker.

TAFE institutes delivered approximately half of all training and private providers delivered 43%. Schools and universities delivered the remainder of program enrolments. Three-quarters of subjects were Commonwealth and state funded. Students in this sector were most often from Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia.

Between 2010 and 2016, apprentice and trainee commencements halved, from 226 in 2010 to 107 in 2016. There was a small rise in commencements in 2017 compared to 2016, to 133. Completions remained relatively stable between 2012 and 2017. In 2017 the most common intended occupation for apprentices and trainees in this sector was Aquaculture Worker. More than three-quarters of all apprentices and trainees in 2017 were from Tasmania.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Aquaculture and Wild Catch 2018 IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work states that priority skills for the longer term are yet to be finalised. In the short term, one specific priority for the industry has been identified: industry compliance skills. The skills required include:

  • understanding of compliance requirements by Fisheries Officers and commercial operators
  • understanding changing regulations as a result of native title
  • capability to source, read and interpret legislation and regulations in order to ensure compliance
  • application of compliance framework for enforcement purposes.

According to the above Skills Forecast the top generic skills required for the industry are:

  • learning agility/information literacy/intellectual autonomy and self-management skills
  • communication/collaboration including virtual collaboration/social intelligence skills
  • language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills
  • managerial/leadership skills
  • technology use and application skills.

The above Skills Forecast identified a range of factors which provide challenges and opportunities for the Aquaculture and Fishing industries and its workforce. These include:

  • Technology – the ongoing development of enabling technologies, which allow Fishers and Fish Farmers to reduce seafood production costs and improve Australia's future stock supplies for more resistant species, will enable the Australian industry to be a more competitive industry both nationally and globally.
  • Ageing workforce – about 24% of the industry workforce is likely to retire over the next five years.
  • Recruitment – working conditions, wages and the remote nature of workplaces generate an adverse public perception of careers in the industry, which challenge the industry's ability to attract and recruit young people into training and employment.
  • Workforce development – developing the skills of employees through on-the-job learning and formal training and providing them with career opportunities and sustainable remuneration to keep them in the industry, are ongoing challenges.
  • Skilled migration – current restrictions on working holiday and seasonal worker visa programs for skilled migration also exacerbate the industry capacity to fulfil its labour demand.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Aquaculture Association of Queensland Inc (AAQ)

Aquaculture Council of Western Australia (ACWA)

Australian Abalone Growers Association (AAGA)

Australian Barramundi Farmers Association (ABFA)

Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries

Australian Freshwater Crayfish Growers Association SA

Australian Freshwater Crayfish Growers Association VIC

Australian Marine Finfish Farmers Association (AMFFA)

Australian Mussel Industry Association (AMIA)

Australian Prawn Farmers Association (APFA)

Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association (ASBTIA)

Australian Trout & Salmon Farmers Association

Commonwealth Fisheries Association

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)

Freshwater Native Fish Association (FNFA)

Great Australian Bight Fishing Industry Association (GABIA)

Moreton Bay Seafood Industry Association (MBSIA)

National Aquaculture Council (NAC)

National Seafood Industry Alliance

Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) Industry Pty Ltd

Northern Territory Seafood Council

NSW Aquaculture Association Inc

NSW Farmers Association – Oyster Branch

NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association (PFA)

NSW Seafood Industry Council

Oysters Australia

Oysters Tasmania

Pearl Producers Association (PPA)

Queensland Aquaculture Industries Federation Inc (QAIF)

Queensland Crayfish Farmers Association (QCFA)

Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA)

Queensland Seafood Marketers Association (QSMA)

SA Mussel Growers Association (SAMGA)

Scallop Fishermen’s Association of Tasmania

Seafood Importers Association of Australia (SIAA)

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA)

Seafood Industry Victoria (SIV)

Seafood Processors and Exporters Council (SPEC)

Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association (SPFIA)

South Australian Aquaculture Council (SAAC)

South Australian Oyster Growers Association (SAOGA)

South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA)

Southern Shark Industry Alliance

Sustainable Shark Fishing Association (SSFAssn)

Tasmanian Abalone Council

Tasmanian Abalone Growers Association (TAGA)

Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association (TSGA)

Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC)

Tasmanian Shellfish Executive Council (TSEC)

The Master Fish Merchants' Association of Australia (MFMA)

Victorian Abalone Grower’s Association

Victorian Abalone Industry Committee

Victorian Bays and Inlet Fisheries Association

Victorian Eel Fishermen’s Association

Victorian Rock Lobster Association

Victorian Scallop Fishermen’s Association (VSFA)

Victorian Trout Farmers Association

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC)

Western Rock Lobster (WRL) Council

Wildcatch Fisheries SA (WFSA)

Regulatory bodies

Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries – QLD

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Fisheries

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development – Fisheries WA

Department of Primary Industries – Fishing NSW

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment – Sea Fishing and Aquaculture TAS

Department of Primary Industry and Resources – Fisheries NT

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Primary Industries and Regions SA – Fisheries and Aquaculture division

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA)

Employee associations

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA)

National Union of Workers (NUW)

Relevant research

Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2018–2021 – Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC

 

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, employment projections to May 2022
    • 020 Aquaculture
    • 041 Fishing
    • 112 Seafood Processing
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2022
    • Aquaculture Farmers
    • Aquaculture Workers
    • Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers
    • Agricultural Technicians
    • Deck and Fishing Hands
    • Marine Transport Professionals.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, 2000 to 2017, May quarter
    • 020 Aquaculture
    • 041 Fishing
    • 112 Seafood Processing.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 3 digit industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.
    • 020 Aquaculture
    • 041 Fishing.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • SFI Seafood Industry Training Package
  • Aquaculture
    • SFI10104 - Certificate I in Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI10111 - Certificate I in Aquaculture
    • SFI20104 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI20111 - Certificate II in Aquaculture
    • SFI30104 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI30111 - Certificate III in Aquaculture
    • SFI40111 - Certificate IV in Aquaculture
    • SFI50111 - Diploma of Aquaculture
    • SFI10100 - Certificate I in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI20100 - Certificate II in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI30100 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI40100 - Certificate IV in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI40104 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI50100 - Diploma of the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI50104 - Diploma of Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
  • Other Seafood and Fishing
  • SFI10211 - Certificate I in Fishing Operations
  • SFI20211 - Certificate II in Fishing Operations
  • SFI20411 - Certificate II in Fisheries Compliance Support
  • SFI20500 - Certificate II in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
  • SFI20511 - Certificate II in Seafood Processing
  • SFI20611 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Sales and Distribution)
  • SFI30211 - Certificate III in Fishing Operations
  • SFI30411 - Certificate III in Fisheries Compliance
  • SFI30511 - Certificate III in Seafood Processing
  • SFI30611 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Sales and Distribution)
  • SFI40311 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Environmental Management)
  • SFI40411 - Certificate IV in Fisheries Compliance
  • SFI40511 - Certificate IV in Seafood Processing
  • SFI40611 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry Sales and Distribution
  • SFI50411 - Diploma of Fisheries Compliance
  • SFI10200 - Certificate I in the Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
  • SFI10204 - Certificate I in Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
  • SFI10500 - Certificate I in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
  • SFI10504 - Certificate I in Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
  • SFI10511 - Certificate I in Seafood Processing
  • SFI20200 - Certificate II in the Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
  • SFI20204 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
  • SFI20404 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance Support)
  • SFI20504 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
  • SFI20600 - Certificate II in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
  • SFI20604 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
  • SFI30200 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
  • SFI30300 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Fishing Charter Operations)
  • SFI30304 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Fishing Charter Operations)
  • SFI30311 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Environmental Management Support)
  • SFI30400 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance)
  • SFI30404 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance)
  • SFI30500 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
  • SFI30504 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
  • SFI30600 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
  • SFI30604 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
  • SFI30699 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
  • SFI30705 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Environmental Management Support)
  • SFI31204 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)              
  • SFI32204 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations - Marine Engine Driver II)
  • SFI33204 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations - Master 5/Skipper 3)
  • SFI40200 - Certificate IV in the Seafood Industries (Fishing Operations)
  • SFI40211 - Certificate IV in Fishing Operations
  • SFI40400 - Certificate IV in the Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance)
  • SFI40404 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance)
  • SFI40502 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
  • SFI40504 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
  • SFI40600 - Certificate IV in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
  • SFI40604 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
  • SFI40705 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Environmental Management)
  • SFI41204 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
  • SFI42204 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations - Marine Engine Driver I)
  • SFI50200 - Diploma of the Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
  • SFI50204 - Diploma of Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
  • SFI50211 - Diploma of Fishing Operations
  • SFI50300 - Diploma of the Seafood Industry (Fishing Charter Operations)
  • SFI50304 - Diploma of Seafood Industry (Fishing Charter Operations)
  • SFI50400 - Diploma of the Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance)
  • SFI50404 - Diploma of Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance)
  • SFI50502 - Diploma of Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
  • SFI50504 - Diploma of Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
  • SFI50511 - Diploma of Seafood Processing.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

SFI Seafood Industry Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Aquaculture and Wild Catch 2018 IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

Updated: 12 Oct 2018
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