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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 four main sectors:

  • Aquaculture (offshore, inshore and onshore)
  • Fishing (commercial)
  • Seafood processing and wholesaling
  • Fisheries compliance.

Australia's reputation for high quality seafood is underpinned by a dedicated and skilled workforce. From the salmon farms of Tasmania, to crocodiles in northern Australia, to the commercial fishing operations in almost every coastal town, the industry is widespread across Australia. The industry employs almost 19,000 people, consists of more than 6,750 businesses, generates over $9.1 billion in revenue and contributes $1.8 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) annually.

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.

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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment levels in the Aquaculture, Fishing and Seafood Processing industries fluctuated between 2002 and 2022. In 2022, there were around 4,600 workers employed in the Aquaculture industry, which is projected to decrease slightly to 4,400 by 2025. There were approximately 5,800 workers employed in the Fishing industry in 2022, which is projected to increase to 7,300 by 2025 and around 1,300 workers in the Seafood Processing industry, which is projected to decrease slightly to 1,200 by 2025.

In the Aquaculture industry, the occupation with the largest proportion of employment is Aquaculture Farmers (33%), followed by Aquaculture Workers (11%). The Employment level for Aquaculture Farmers is projected to increase by 4.7% by the year 2026 with the level for Aquaculture workers expected to remain steady over the same period.

In the Fishing industry, the occupation with the largest proportion of employment is Deck and Fishing Hands (53%), followed by Marine Transport Professionals (12%). The employment level for Deck and Fishing Hands is projected to decrease by 4.3% over the next few years to 2026, whereas employment for Marine Transport Professionals is expected to increase by around 3.8% over the same period.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Aquaculture and Wild Catch-related qualifications have slowly declined each year between 2017 and 2021 from around 1,380 to just under 870. Program completions declined significantly in 2018 from the previous year then rose slightly over the next two years before declining again to around 350 in 2021.

Between 2017 and 2021 the proportion of subjects that were delivered as part of a nationally recognised program has declined from 95% to 84%.

Certificate III level qualifications were the most common in 2021 with approximately 410 enrolments, followed by certificate II level qualifications with just over 340 enrolments. The vast majority of program enrolments in 2021 were in Aquaculture qualifications (92%) and the most common intended occupation was that of Aquaculture Worker.

For enrolments in 2021, private training providers delivered 55% of training and TAFE institutes 34%. Approximately 86% of subjects were Commonwealth and state-funded. Tasmania had the highest proportion of student enrolments with 42%, followed by Western Australia with 20%. In terms of delivery location, the largest proportion of training was provided in Tasmania (42%), followed by Western Australia (27%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions have been variable between 2012 and 2021. Commencements were at their highest level in the past decade in 2021 at around 240. There were approximately 110 completions in both 2019 and 2020, falling to just over 80 in 2021. The intended occupation for all apprentices and trainees in training during 2021 was Aquaculture Worker. The majority of apprentices and trainees in 2021 were reported by Tasmania (67%), followed by New South Wales (26%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER's Data Builder.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

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Industry insights

 

Industry insights on skills needs

The Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast states that the top generic skills for the Aquaculture and Wild Catch industry range from learning agility and information literacy, through to communication and virtual collaboration skills, language, literacy and numeracy (LLN), and managerial and leadership skills. Technology is rated as the fifth most important generic skill for the industry.

The Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast identifies a range of significant challenges that impact on the uptake and implementation of industry training, including:

  • Declining and ageing workforce
  • Attracting and recruiting young people
  • Restrictions on visa programs for skilled migration
  • Limited options for subsidised training
  • Geographical and regional dispersion of businesses
  • Limited access to registered training organisations (RTOs)
  • Competing industries
  • Regulation and licensing implications.

The key priority skills identified by the Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC that will require future projects are:

  • Development of the crocodile farming market
  • Increased use of FishTech and Aquabotics in operations
  • Development of partnerships with traditional owners for industry operations
  • Potential development of Indigenous enterprises related to aquaculture and wild catch, including customary fishing.

Crocodile farming is an expanding opportunity in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland. The challenges of crocodile farming are unique in that it involves one of the world's oldest and most dangerous predators and, while risks may be minimised, there are potentially fatal consequences for both workers and animals. There has been significant growth in crocodile farming and associated markets based on crocodile skins, meat, by-products, tourism and conservation.

Park rangers, zoo employees, crocodile farm workers, and licenced individuals all need the same foundational skills to work with crocodiles and their eggs in ways that are safe and sustainable. This requires knowledge of diseases, biosecurity management, and the humane treatment of crocodiles, as well as the ability to perform risk assessment and an understanding of cultural sensitivities relating to Indigenous communities. Additional expertise is also needed depending on whether animals are in the wild or in a controlled environment.

Working with crocodiles is a complex field, overlapping a number of sectors including conservation and land management, animal care and management, and aquaculture. It is also closely tied to Indigenous communities, who have respected crocodiles as entities and a source of food for thousands of years. Crocodile farming and conservation in particular utilises Indigenous knowledge and provide economic benefits for Traditional Owners through employment and royalty payments for egg collection on their land.

During 2019 and 2020, the Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC oversaw the Work With Crocodiles Project. Key outcomes of the project included:

  • The Certificate III in Working with Crocodiles was developed.
  • Eight skill sets were developed: Introduction to Working with Crocodiles, Care for Crocodiles in a Controlled Environment, Hatchling and Juvenile Crocodile Care, Crocodile Egg Harvesting, Crocodile Relocation, Crocodile Incident, Crocodile Survey and Crocodile Public Relations.
  • Eleven units of competency specifically focused on working with crocodiles and working in crocodile habitats were developed. All of which are featured as core and elective units in the Certificate III in Working with Crocodiles, within the SFI Seafood Industry Training Package.

New underwater technologies, such as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), underwater drones and biosensors, are changing the way work is done in Australia's aquaculture industry. From monitoring fish health and environmental conditions, to inspecting and repairing nets, many job tasks that were previously done manually can now be performed remotely. These are important advancements, improving productivity, catch sustainability, environmental control, stock and habitat welfare, and biosecurity. It is expected that these developments will affect most job roles, as uptake of these new technologies becomes more widespread, requiring updated skills in digital literacy, data, automation and environmental sustainability.

During 2019 and 2020, the Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC oversaw the Fishtech and Aquabotics Project. Key outcomes of the project included:

  • Three new skill sets were developed for aquatic technology induction, aquabotics and aquatic environmental audit.
  • Nine new units of competency were developed, with a focus on the use and future use of technology in the Seafood industry. These units will be incorporated as electives into existing aquaculture qualifications, in addition to being available for import to other qualifications. Some units have been developed to meet immediate needs and others are intentionally generic to future proof them and allow for new and emerging technologies to be incorporated into training.
  • Twenty-three units of competency were revised so that they are applicable for use in the context of remote technologies.

The Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast highlights skill needs around industry leadership and succession planning. Several Seafood Industry Training Package qualifications are intended for job outcomes in leadership and management roles. As the Seafood industry has an ageing workforce and is struggling to attract the next generation of workers, the perceived importance of these qualifications will likely be enhanced as succession planning becomes increasingly vital for the continuation of operations.

The Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC’s 2021 Skills Forecast states that the past year was turbulent and unpredictable for the aquaculture, fishing and seafood sector due to a combination of the impacts of COVID-19, changes to international markets and the continuing evolution of the Australian industry. The IRC monitored the performance of the updated SFI Seafood Industry Training Package throughout 2020 and determined that the training package, along with the updates related to the use of technology and working with crocodiles, is a robust, up-to-date set of industry skill standards with the flexibility and content needed to meet industry needs. Research to date has shown no skills gaps in the skills standards.

Increasingly apparent is that the ability of the industry to attract workforce is the biggest barrier to training, as competition for workers continues to grow. In particular, the revitalisation of the mining industry in Western Australia is attracting labour to the detriment of other industries. With a lack of access to migrant and visa workers as a result of the pandemic, employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find the workers needed. The IRC found no evidence of a reluctance to train workers by employers, or a lack of willingness of governments to fund training (although mainly for qualifications).

In planning for its future workforce, as the industry grows and evolves, the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC) recognises that it needs to shift its mindset to better understand the needs of the next generation of workers so that they can attract, train, support and retain a productive, reliable and committed workforce. The Next Generation: Tasmanian Seafood Industry Workforce report argues that the opportunity, and challenge, for the Seafood industry to attract a future workforce in a competitive Tasmanian labour market is to better understand the needs and expectations of the new generation of seafood workers; their strengths, motivations, skill requirements and career aspirations and then respond to those needs so that both the industry and future workforce can benefit over the longer term. The Seafood industry must also balance the new workforce needs with its own current challenges such as regionality, isolation, pay and labour shortages.

The Victoria's Fisheries and Aquaculture: Economic and Social Contributions report examines how the Seafood industry contributes to the types and nature of employment opportunities in regional communities. Seafood production adds to the diversity of economic opportunities, which is critical for economic resilience in regional towns, especially in places where there are few alternative industries and where it can alleviate dependence on large sectors and companies. Fishing and aquaculture contributes to the economic stability of communities because they provide a year-round baseline of activity, which keeps local regional economies 'ticking over' when other industries (e.g., tourism) operate seasonally or intermittently. The diversity of jobs in fisheries and aquaculture production, the diversity of business types that provide inputs into production, and the diversity of post-harvest businesses, including those jobs associated with transport, processing, wholesaling, and retailing Victorian seafood, are considered. Key findings include:

  • Employment in seafood production requires a diverse and often high-level specific skillset, but also provides entry-level jobs.
  • The Seafood industry provides jobs for people who might find it difficult to get work elsewhere, people who may have struggled in life, or who may not easily fit into mainstream life.
  • There are opportunities for young people to enter the Seafood industry. However, the professional fishing industry struggles to attract young people, while the aquaculture industry attracts young school leavers or graduates into entry-level work.
  • The Victorian Seafood industry tends to be male-dominated with low percentages of women in the production sectors. However, in the processing sector, there appears to be a more equal gender balance.
  • Fishing and fish farming require high skill levels. For example, successful skippers need to be efficient, productive, run a profitable business, have mechanical knowledge to fix and maintain their vessel and gear, be aware of market conditions, read the environmental conditions, and maintain relationships with crew and others.

The barriers to new entrants that have emerged over the past 20 years appear to be as a result of contraction and restructuring in the Victorian professional fishing industry. While interviews revealed there may still be opportunities for young people (e.g., as deckhands), the job may not be full-time work nor well-paid, and thus requires a second and flexible job to participate. The pathway to progressing through to owning an independent fishing business is also difficult, detracting from it as a career choice. The cost of entering the industry is now extremely high (e.g., licences and quotas) and the financial risks are high, with a pervasive sense of resource access insecurity currently in the Victorian industry due to government closures and restrictions. This is further compounded by the poor availability of financing to enter the fishing industry.

In their Aquaculture Development Plan for Western Australia, the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) address key issues that have previously presented barriers to developing the state's aquaculture. The Plan focusses on developing a robust industry that supports communities and helps diversify regional economies by creating new types of jobs, including opportunities for Aboriginal economic development and participation. When fully operational, current and proposed investments (such as the Albany Aquaculture Development Zone, which will be the largest single zone dedicated to marine shellfish farming in Australia) are projected to increase direct and indirect employment from an estimated 280 jobs to almost 6,000 jobs.

In the State of the North 2020 report, the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) estimates that there will be 1,400 to 2,300 new direct jobs in aquaculture over the next 10 years, while there is potential for a 50-fold expansion in area available for freshwater pond aquaculture. To meet these targets, the CRCNA advocates for increased training and skills development to promote aquaculture career pathways.

The Australian Seaweed Industry Blueprint: A Blueprint for Growth, by AgriFutures Australia, argues that Australia has the skill set to develop both seaweed cultivating and harvesting industries. This Blueprint offers a pathway to create a high-tech and high-value seaweed industry. The industry has the potential to be a $1.5 billion industry within 20 years due to its many possible uses, including for animal feed, fertiliser, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, as well as mitigating livestock emissions. It is estimated that, by 2025, the industry will employ 1,200 people, which could rise to 9,000 by 2040.

The NSW Land Based Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy highlights that sustainable seafood production to support future demands of food security for the state is a key focus of the New South Wales (NSW) Government. Aquaculture is a growing industry – NSW estuarine, marine and land based aquaculture is developing steadily. The aquaculture industry and the NSW Government are both conscious of ensuring that development of the industry proceeds in a manner that does not jeopardise its ecological sustainability and social licence. The following skills-related factors have been identified as key for success:

  • The availability of suitably experienced and skilled staff or advisers, and/or access to appropriate training and instruction so an enterprise can run smoothly are essential to the success of an aquaculture business.
  • Aquaculture like any business has potential pitfalls that may hamper the development of a strong business. Some pitfalls may include lack of 'business' experience or skills or lack of reliable and experienced workers and managers.
  • Tank aquaculture often has higher capital and operational costs and requires skilled technicians to manage the system.
  • Stocking density has a significant effect on the performance of aquatic animals. It influences behaviour, feeding patterns, incidence of disease, water quality and growth. Things to consider when calculating an appropriate stocking density include operator's skills and management systems.

For Australian fisheries to remain productive and sustainable (environmentally and commercially), there is a need to incorporate climate change considerations into management and planning, and to implement planned climate adaptation options. In the article An Assessment of How Australian Fisheries Management Plans Account for Climate Change Impacts, the authors investigated the extent to which Australian state fisheries management documents consider issues relating to climate change, as well as how frequently climate change is considered a research funding priority within fisheries research in Australia. Results show that commercial state fisheries management documents consider climate only to a limited degree in comparison to other topics, with less than one-quarter of all fisheries management documents having content relating to climate. There is a clear need for fisheries management in Australia to consider longer-term climate adaptation strategies for Australian commercial state fisheries to remain sustainable into the future. The authors suggest that without additional climate-related fisheries research and funding, many Australian agencies and fisheries may not be prepared for the impacts and subsequent adaptation efforts required for sustainable fisheries under climate change.

Fisheries are under threat from climate change, with observed impacts greater in faster-warming regions. In the article Stakeholder Perceptions on Actions for Marine Fisheries Adaptation to Climate Change, the authors investigated current and future potential for climate adaptation to be integrated into fisheries management strategies using Tasmanian commercial wild-catch fisheries as a case study, and then identified obstacles and recommendations for fisheries management to better adapt to future climate changes. The research found that climate adaptation in Tasmania fisheries management has largely been passive or incidental to date. A more forward-thinking and proactive response to climate change for Tasmanian fisheries, as well as a more flexible and resilient fishing industry that is better able to absorb shocks related to climate change, is needed.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report Adaptive Management of Fisheries in Response to Climate Change, aims to accelerate climate change adaptation implementation in fisheries management throughout the world. It showcases how flexibility can be introduced in the fisheries management cycle in order to foster adaptation, strengthen the resilience of fisheries, reduce their vulnerability to climate change, and enable managers to respond in a timely manner to the projected changes in the dynamics of marine resources and ecosystems. The publication includes a set of good practices for climate-adaptive fisheries management that have proven their effectiveness and can be adapted to different contexts, providing a range of options for stakeholders including the fishing industry, fishery managers, policymakers and others involved in decision-making.

The Seafood industry is currently regarded as the most dangerous work sector in Australia. The article Joint Action to Tackle Safety, outlines new strategies, underpinned by research, that show how shared approaches can improve safety in the industry. Research has found that traditional approaches, including training and regulation, were failing to improve safety practices because they often failed to recognise the specific needs of a particular fishery or operation. In response, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) has moved to address gaps in the available first-step training resources, which can be tailored for specific fisheries. Its SeSAFE program provides basic, accessible training modules that cover both industry-wide issues such as 'man' overboard or sun-safe practices, and industry-specific requirements such as boom safety on prawn trawlers. Modules have been co-designed with industry and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), or adapted from other industry programs, including a significant contribution of training material from Austral Fisheries. The time required from skippers or business owners is minimal; they just need to select the modules they want their staff or crew to do. The training provider can then coordinate the training on their behalf. Each module can be completed in 10 minutes or so. They are available online or offline, formatted for computers and tablets, and optimised for mobile phones. Challenges to uptake include a reluctance by crew to do the training, often coupled with a shortage of crew. This can make it harder for skippers to insist, or to remain committed to continually repeating training in the face of high staff turnover.

Levels of psychological distress among fishers have been found to be twice that reported in other industries. Factors included the 'traditional uncertainties' of weather, oceans, fishing and markets, and 'modern uncertainties' related to the regulatory environment, industry reputation and community support. Initiatives focused on mental health include:

In August 2021, the media release Navigator a Boost to Sea Training and Jobs, announced that the new training vessel, The Navigator, has been officially commissioned for Seafood and Maritime Training (SMT) and is set to provide more hands-on skills and qualifications for Tasmanian learners. The Navigator will be used to train students across a range of maritime disciplines including maritime operations, aquaculture and seafood processing qualifications. With more than 1,500 students enrolling with SMT each year this new training vessel will make a significant difference to both students mastering their new careers and the maritime and seafood industries in need of work-ready skilled team members. Having served Tasmanian learners and the sector for 35 years, SMT is recognised as Australia's leading seafood and maritime industry training provider and this is the largest single investment SMT has ever made. It will take their ability to shape careers and provide a pipeline of highly skilled workers to the next level, and shows there is a high level of confidence in demand for training in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Government supports SMT in training Tasmanians for rewarding careers through their Apprentice and Trainee Training Fund (User Choice), Skills Fund, Train Now Fund and the JobTrainer Fund. Notably SMT delivers traineeship training in Certificate III in Aquaculture through the Apprentice and Trainee Training Fund (User Choice) which alone currently supports nearly 150 trainees.

The National Skills Commission's Skills Priority List: June 2021, lists the occupations of Master Fisher, Fishing Hand and Deck Hand as having 'Moderate' future demand and the occupation of Aquaculture Farmer as having 'Soft' future demand. Research has identified some difficulty filling vacancies for these occupations across Australia. There is a shortage of Master Fishers and Deck Hands in the Northern Territory, Fishing Hands in Western Australia, and Aquaculture Farmers in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

COVID-19 impact

COVID-19 has disrupted every sector of the Australian Aquaculture and Wild Catch industry according to the Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC's 2021 Skills Forecast. It has also emphasised the importance of food security and the associated roles of rural industries and supply chains. Businesses continue to struggle from the impact of shutdowns which caused domestic clients, such as restaurants and retailers, to cancel or reduce their regular seafood orders. As a result, market prices have fallen, and operators have been unable to retain crew members due to diminished profits.

In the seafood, agriculture, aviation and logistics sectors, around 35,000 jobs directly and over 120,000 jobs indirectly (many of which are based in regional communities) have been at risk from potential airfreight supply chain failures. Exported seafood is usually carried in the cargo hold of commercial flights, most of which were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. A federally-funded industry assistance package, the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), was established in April 2020 to help restore export activity by flying produce to overseas markets. In August 2021, the Australian Government announced a further $260.9 million in funding to extend IFAM to the middle of 2022, giving Australian businesses reliant on airfreight extra time to adapt to the new international trade environment.

In June 2020, the Federal Government announced $4 million in funding for Australia's first national marketing campaign to promote Australian seafood to the nation – 'Eat Seafood, Australia!' – as part of the Government's $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, that was created to support regions, communities and industry sectors severely affected by the pandemic. The 12-month campaign was designed to support all sectors in the Seafood industry, from fishers and processors right through to those in foodservices.

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) report, Impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian Seafood Industry: January-June 2020, summarises the full range of impacts experienced in the early months of the pandemic. As a sector relying on natural resources, the Seafood industry is familiar with, and has had to deal with, many environmental shocks and other disruptions outside its control, but market shocks are far less common and have never been as pervasive as the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall impacts of the pandemic on the industry have been asymmetric, with sectors supplying domestic markets mostly able to prosper, while exporters often brought to their knees. Irrespective of their main market, businesses that have been both willing and able to be innovative, have fared better. The many forms of Government assistance, including the designation of the Seafood industry as essential, were critical to economic survival during this period. Businesses that were able to adapt quickly did better, but few can claim having had a crisis plan they implemented.

Fisheries and aquaculture production value was projected to fall in 2020–21, caused largely by disruptions to domestic and international market conditions, measures to address the spread of COVID-19 and changing consumer demands, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Outlook 2021. Projections over the medium term (2021–22 to 2025–26) are highly uncertain, and due to these factors, it is expected that production values will remain below pre COVID-19 levels over this period.

The effects of COVID-19 are not expected to significantly change the structure of Australia's fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the medium term. Australia is likely to remain an exporter of higher-value products and an importer of lower-value seafood. Population growth and income growth will remain the key drivers of increased demand for seafood. However, within a structurally stable setting, the industry is expected to undergo a range of adjustments – business-level adjustments to manage immediate risks and disruptions, longer-term changes driven by consumer preferences in response to the pandemic, and an enhancement and reinforcement of trends that were already being observed before 2019–20. Longer term, business-level responses to COVID-19 are expected to include greater emphasis on risk mitigation, including a shift towards greater market diversification, and an increased ability to adjust the market segments being targeted. This will require flexible supply chains to allow efficient pivoting between domestic and international markets, within domestic markets and across different international markets. Such risk mitigation activities are not likely to be costless.

The Oysters Australia report Insights into the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Australian Oyster Industry, provides an analysis of data collected from an industry survey conducted in September 2020. The survey was completed by 53 oyster farmers from across the major oyster-producing states in Australia (26 in New South Wales, 18 in South Australia and 9 in Tasmania). Key findings include:

  • 57% reported that sales overall are down for the time of year
  • 78% reported holding more stock than in Spring 2019
  • 35% reported that labour requirements have increased since March 2020
  • 77% reported accessing JobKeeper or other Government support programs
  • 29% reported not having access to adequate staff to manage stock.

Industry organisations prepared COVID-19 advice to assist the sectors during the pandemic. For example, Safe Food Queensland's COVID-19 Guide for Seafood Processors was adapted from Queensland Health's COVID-19 guidance for food businesses for use by seafood processors. The Guide provides additional industry-specific considerations that may help workplaces minimise the risks associated with COVID-19 and steps that can be taken if there is COVID-19 in a workplace. Businesses that are well prepared and have documented procedures in place can minimise the impact if a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Links and resources

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

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC

 

Relevant research

2019–20 Year in Review for Aquaculture and Wild Catch – Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC

Adaptive Management of Fisheries in Response to Climate Change – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

An Assessment of How Australian Fisheries Management Plans Account for Climate Change Impacts – Frontiers in Marine Science, Volume 7, Article 591642, December 2020 – Hannah E. Fogarty, Christopher Cvitanovic, Alistair J. Hobday and Gretta T. Pecl

Aquaculture Development Plan for Western Australia – Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD)

Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Outlook 2022 – Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)

Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Outlook to 2025–26 – Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)

Australian Seaweed Industry Blueprint: A Blueprint for Growth – AgriFutures Australia

'Celebration of an Icon': $4 Million Helping Hand Announced as Fishers Reel From COVID Impact – Seafood Industry Australia (SIA)

COVID-19 Guide for Seafood Processors – Safe Food Queensland

Fishtech and Aquabotics Project – Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC

Impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian Seafood Industry: January-June 2020 – Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)

Insights into the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Australian Oyster Industry – Oysters Australia

International Freight Assistance Mechanism – Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)

Joint Action to Tackle Safety – FISH: Fisheries Research & Development Corporation News, Volume 29, Number 3, September 2021 – Catherine Norwood

Navigator a Boost to Sea Training and Jobs [media release] – Guy Barnett, Acting Minister for Skills, Training, and Workforce Growth (in Tasmania)

NSW Land Based Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy – Department of Regional NSW

NSW Oyster Industry Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy – Department of Regional NSW

Skills Priority List: June 2021 – National Skills Commission (NSC)

Stakeholder Perceptions on Actions for Marine Fisheries Adaptation to Climate Change – Marine and Freshwater Research, Volume 72, Number 10, 2021 – Hannah E. Fogarty, Christopher Cvitanovic, Alistair J. Hobday and Gretta T. Pecl

State of the North 2020 – Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA)

The Economic Contribution of Aquaculture in the South Australian State and Regional Economies, 2018/19 – BDO EconSearch

The Next Generation: Tasmanian Seafood Industry Workforce – Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC)

The Workforce Needed to Support Future Growth of Aquaculture – Journal of the World Aquaculture Society, Volume 52, Issue 4, August 2021 – Carole R. Engle

Victoria's Fisheries and Aquaculture: Economic and Social Contributions – UTS

Work With Crocodiles Project – Aquaculture and Wild Catch IRC

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Abalone Industry Association of South Australia Inc

Abalone Victoria (Central Zone)

Aqua Association Inc (formerly NSW Aquaculture Association Inc (NSWAqua))

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

Clarence River Fishermen's Co-operative Ltd (CRFC)

East Gippsland Estuarine Fishermen's Association

Eastern Victoria Sea Urchin Divers Association

Eastern Zone Abalone Industry Association

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)

Geraldton Fishermen's Co-operative (GFC)

Great Australian Bight Fishing Industry Association Inc (GABIA)

Moreton Bay Seafood Industry Association (MBSIA)

National Aquaculture Council (NAC)

Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) Industry Pty Ltd

Northern Territory Seafood Council (NTSC)

NSW Seafood Industry Council

Oysters Australia

Oysters South Australia

Oysters Tasmania

Pearl Producers Association (PPA)

Port Franklin Fishermen's Association

Portland Professional Fishermen's Association

Professional Fisher's Association (PFA)

Queensland Aquaculture Industries Federation Inc (QAIF)

Queensland Crayfish Farmers Association Inc (QCFA)

Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA)

Queensland Seafood Marketers Association (QSMA)

Scallop Fishermen's Association of Tasmania (SFAT)

Seafood Importers Association of Australasia (SIAA)

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA)

Seafood Industry Victoria (SIV)

Seafood Processors and Exporters Council (SPEC)

Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association Inc (SPFIA)

South Australian Aquaculture Council (SAAC)

South Australian Mussel Growers Association (SAMGA)

South Australian Northern Zone Rock Lobster Fishermen's Association Inc

South Australian Oyster Growers Association (SAOGA)

South Australian Oyster Research Council (SAORC)

South Australian Rock Lobster Advisory Council Inc (SARLAC)

South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA)

South Eastern Professional Fishermen's Association Inc (SEPFA)

Southern Shark Industry Alliance (SSIA)

Sustainable Shark Fishing Association (SSFAssn)

Tasmanian Abalone Council (TAC)

Tasmanian Abalone Growers Association (TAGA)

Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association (TSGA)

Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC)

The Master Fish Merchants' Association of Australia (MFMA)

Tuna Australia

Victorian Abalone Growers Association

Victorian Abalone Processors Association

Victorian Abalone Industry Committee (VAIC)

Victorian Eel Fishermen’s Association

Victorian Fish and Food Marketing Association

Victorian Scallop Fishermen’s Association Inc

Victorian Trout Farmers Association

Western Abalone Divers Association (WADA)

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council Inc (WAFIC)

Western Rock Lobster (WRL)

Wildcatch Fisheries SA (WFSA)

Women in Seafood Australasia (WISA)

 

Regulatory bodies

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)

New South Wales Department of Primary Industries – Fishing

Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources – Fisheries

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) – Fisheries and Aquaculture

Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA)

Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development – Fisheries

 

Employee associations

Australian Workers’ Union (AWU)

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA)

United Workers Union

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Industry Employment Projections viewed 1 August 2021, Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, employment projections to May 2025
    • 020 Aquaculture
    • 041 Fishing
    • 112 Seafood Processing.

National Skills Commission 2022, Occupation Employment Projections viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/topics/employment-projections

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2026
    • Aquaculture Farmers
    • Aquaculture Workers
    • Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers
    • Agricultural Technicians
    • Deck and Fishing Hands
    • Marine Transport Professionals.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2022, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ06 - Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, viewed 1 August 2022. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2022

Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, 2002 to 2022, 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
    • SFI10100 - Certificate I in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI10104 - Certificate I in Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI10111 - Certificate I in Aquaculture
    • SFI10119 - Certificate I in Seafood Industry
    • SFI20100 - Certificate II in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI20104 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI20111 - Certificate II in Aquaculture
    • SFI20119 - Certificate II in Aquaculture
    • SFI30100 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI30104 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI30111 - Certificate III in Aquaculture
    • SFI30119 - Certificate III in Aquaculture
    • SFI30520 - Certificate III in Working with Crocodiles
    • SFI40100 - Certificate IV in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI40104 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI40111 - Certificate IV in Aquaculture
    • SFI40119 - Certificate IV in Aquaculture
    • SFI50100 - Diploma of the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI50104 - Diploma of Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)
    • SFI50111 - Diploma of Aquaculture
    • SFI50119 - Diploma of Aquaculture
  • Other Seafood and Fishing
    •  SFI10200 - Certificate I in the Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
    • SFI10204 - Certificate I in Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
    • SFI10211 - Certificate I in 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)
    • SFI20211 - Certificate II in Fishing Operations
    • SFI20219 - Certificate II in Fishing Operations
    • SFI20319 - Certificate II in Seafood Post Harvest Operations
    • SFI20404 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance Support)
    • SFI20411 - Certificate II in Fisheries Compliance Support
    • SFI20419 - Certificate II in Fisheries Compliance Support
    • SFI20500 - Certificate II in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
    • SFI20504 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
    • SFI20511 - Certificate II in Seafood Processing
    • SFI20600 - Certificate II in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
    • SFI20604 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
    • SFI20611 - Certificate II in Seafood Industry (Sales and Distribution)
    • SFI30200 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations)
    • SFI30211 - Certificate III in Fishing Operations
    • SFI30219 - Certificate III in 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)
    • SFI30319 - Certificate III in Seafood Post Harvest Operations
    • SFI30400 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance)
    • SFI30404 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance)
    • SFI30411 - Certificate III in Fisheries Compliance
    • SFI30419 - Certificate III in Fisheries Compliance
    • SFI30500 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
    • SFI30504 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
    • SFI30511 - Certificate III in Seafood Processing
    • SFI30600 - Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
    • SFI30604 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
    • SFI30611 - Certificate III in Seafood Industry (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
    • SFI40219 - Certificate IV in Seafood Post Harvest Operations
    • SFI40311 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Environmental Management)
    • SFI40319 - Certificate IV in Fisheries Compliance
    • SFI40400 - Certificate IV in the Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance)
    • SFI40404 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Fisheries Compliance)
    • SFI40411 - Certificate IV in Fisheries Compliance
    • SFI40502 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
    • SFI40504 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Seafood Processing)
    • SFI40511 - Certificate IV in Seafood Processing
    • SFI40600 - Certificate IV in the Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
    • SFI40604 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry (Seafood Sales and Distribution)
    • SFI40611 - Certificate IV in Seafood Industry 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
    • SFI50219 - Diploma of Fisheries Compliance
    • 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)
    • SFI50411 - Diploma of 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:

  • 2017 to 2021 program enrolments
  • 2017 to 2021 subject enrolments
  • 2017 to 2021 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:

  • 2012 to 2021 commencements
  • 2012 to 2021 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2021 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.
Updated: 28 Nov 2022
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