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Tuna exports fire up state’s aquaculture industry

THRIVING tuna exports are behind an 18 per cent boost to the value of the state’s aquaculture industry, a report shows.

The industry’s total value grew to $229 million in the 2010-11 financial year, up from from $193 million a year earlier, the State Government’s Economic Impact of Aquaculture in SA report states.

The Port Lincoln tuna industry’s continuing recovery would see it grow by 85 per cent to $185 million by 2013-14, the report predicts.

This improvement will help the state’s aquaculture sector expand in the same period, with tuna production remaining the backbone of the industry, followed by oysters and finfish.

Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association president Brian Jeffriess said he was hopeful the industry would grow more quickly than the report predicts.

The EconSearch report, prepared for PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, states the tuna recovery began in 2010-11 with the sector growing by 22 per cent to $125 million. It was helped by a 54 per cent increase in the average value of farmed tuna, despite a 20 per cent fall in volume.

“The results of this study illustrate the significance of aquaculture in SA in terms of business activity, household income and contribution to the state’s growth and employment levels,” the report states.

Fisheries Minister Gail Gago said the figures showed that SA’s aquaculture industry continued to farm productively and sustainably.

“This report clearly demonstrates the positive economic and employment contribution of the aquaculture industry to South Australia,” Ms Gago said.

The tuna sector accounts for almost 55 per cent of the state’s gross value of aquaculture production, followed by oysters at $35 million, finfish $28 million, abalone $10.8 million and mussels $2.4 million.

Overall, there has been growth across most sectors.

The report predicts tuna production will increase significantly in the next two years following a recovery from lost quota in 2010, rising demand in Japan, rising consumption in China and Korea and improved quality.

It is expected to grow by 14 per cent a year, from 5800 tonnes in 2010-11 to 8584 tonnes in 2013-14.


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