Ministry of Industry and Trade, 3 August 2015. Seafood in Australia and opportunities for Vietnam’s exporters.

72 per cent of Australia’s consumption of fish is imported. And Vietnam is a key producer for Australia.

The original article is reproduced below.

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A new report has found nearly three quarters of the fish sold in Australia comes from overseas. The Australian Government’s Fisheries Research and Development Corporation report has for the first time assessed the extent of fish imports. It found 72 per cent came from overseas – mainly from Thailand, Vietnam, China and New Zealand.

Seafood imports almost doubled the total value of Australia’s local fishing and aquaculture production. Around $1 billion worth of seafood is imported each year, helping generate around $4.5 billion annually from value adding and sales.

Australia’s seafood imports largely consist of lower-value products such as frozen fillets, frozen prawns and canned fish. Imported products, predominantly from Thailand, New Zealand, Vietnam and China, meet Australian consumers’ demand for low-cost seafood products.

In Australia, frozen and thawed basa (catfish) fillets from farms in Vietnam are now the most commonly and widely eaten import. The low cost, white boneless flesh and neutral flavour of basa makes it attractive to a large cross section of the Australian community.

Australia’s seafood trade

Australians love seafood. They eat more and more of it each year. This is a good thing as fish are a healthy source of protein and essential fatty acids and are recommended as an important part of a good diet.

People sometimes question why Australia imports so much seafood (72% of consumption). With such a long coastline and a relatively small population, why don’t we produce enough seafood to feed ourselves, as we do with many other food products? People are also sometimes confused by the role and prospects of wild capture fisheries and aquaculture in Australian seafood production.

Australia has the world’s third largest Exclusive Economic Zone, which generally extends 200 nautical miles out from the Australian coast. The fisheries resources in these waters are reserved almost exclusively for our fishing fleets. However, our waters are not very productive by world standards. Unlike other countries, the Australian continent does not have large offshore upwellings or sufficient runoff from the landmass to provide nutrients that naturally support larger fish stocks.

 

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