About my region is a series of individual profiles of the agricultural, forestry and fisheries industries in your region. This regional profile presents an overview of the agriculture and fisheries sectors in the Geelong region and the recent financial performance of the Victorian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.
The Geelong region of Victoria is located in the south of the state and encompasses the south–west corner of Port Phillip Bay. The region comprises the three local government areas of Greater Geelong, Queenscliffe and Surf Coast, part of Golden Plains, and the major regional centre of Geelong. The region covers a total area of around 4,429 square kilometres or 1.95 per cent of Victoria's total area and is home to approximately 250,700 people (ABS 2011).
Agricultural land in the Geelong region occupies 3,080 square kilometres, or 70 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) also occupy 837 square kilometres, or 19 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pasture, which occupies 1,969 square kilometres or 45 per cent of the Geelong region.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 139,000 people were employed in the Geelong region. The region accounts for 5 per cent of total employment in Victoria and 5 per cent of all people employed in the Victorian agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.
Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 21,300 people, followed by retail trade with 16,300 people, and education and training with 14,700 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were construction, public administration and safety, and manufacturing. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 5,000 people, representing 4 per cent of the region's workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2014–15, the gross value of agricultural production in the Geelong region was $458 million, which was 3.5 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Victoria ($13.1 billion).
The Geelong region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were poultry ($193 million), followed by eggs ($41 million) and sheep and lambs ($39 million). These commodities together contributed 60 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2014–15 there were 927 farms in the Geelong region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 or more. The region contains 4 per cent of all farm businesses in Victoria.
Number of farms, by industry classification, Geelong region, 2014–15
|Number of farms||% of region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Sheep Farming (Specialised)||294||31.7||2,987||9.8|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||219||23.6||7,740||2.8|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||89||9.6||2,160||4.1|
|Other Grain Growing||84||9.1||2,939||2.9|
|Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming||43||4.6||1,415||3.0|
|Other Crop Growing nec||43||4.6||503||8.5|
Note: Estimated value of agricultural operations $5,000 or more.
Industries that constitute less than 1 per cent of the region's industry are not shown
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Sheep farms (294 farms) were the most common, accounting for 32 per cent of all farms in the Geelong region, and 10 per cent of all sheep farms in Victoria.
Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 58 per cent of farms in the Geelong region had an EVAO of less than $50,000. These farms accounted for only 7.5 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. In comparison, 5 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 56 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Geelong region in 2014–15.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy and vegetable farms in Victoria.
The Geelong region has an extensive seafood industry including wild–catch and aquaculture, and seafood processing handling finfish, abalone, scallops, squid, and bait and bait products. The region is well connected to the Melbourne wholesale and retail market, particularly through the Melbourne Seafood Centre, the main wholesale retail market place for fresh seafood in the region. Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula are the key areas for the harvest of seaweed, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. Port Phillip Bay is the main commercial fishing location for King George whiting.
In the 2000 National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey, the region recorded a participation rate of 15 per cent, slightly higher than the state average of 12.7 per cent (Henry & Lyle 2003). Nearby Port Phillip Bay and adjacent coastal waters are the main fishing grounds where Geelong residents fish and are the most popular fishing grounds in Victoria. Flathead, Australian salmon, King George whiting, garfish and squid are the most common species targeted by fishers. Within Port Phillip Bay, most fishing is done from boats but in the coastal waters fishing effort is divided equally between boat and shore fishing.
The area has a significant aquaculture industry. The area is one of Australia's largest mussel growing areas (mostly blue mussels) with production focused in Port Philip Bay, which is also the location of abalone farms. Some land based abalone and barramundi aquaculture farms are also located in the area.
In 2014–15 the gross value of Victoria's fisheries production (both aquaculture and wild–catch) was $88 million, an increase of 9 per cent ($7.6 million) from 2013–14. Victoria contributed 3 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2014–15. In value terms, the wild–catch sector accounted for 67 per cent ($58.7 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 33 per cent ($29.1 million).
Victoria's wild–catch fisheries sector is dominated by two main products—abalone and Southern rocklobster—which account for 34 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively, of the total value of wild-caught production in 2014–15. Over the last decade the real value of Victoria's wild-caught fisheries products has reduced by 48 per cent to $58.7 million in 2014–15.
The product for which the real value of production declined most over the past decade is wild—caught abalone, falling by 74 per cent to $20.2 million in 2014–15. This is largely attributable to the Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis disease which has significantly reduced abalone production in the Victorian wild–catch sector in recent years. A large proportion of abalone is exported, mostly to Hong Kong, China and Japan. Exchange rate movements have a significant effect on the value of abalone exports and, in turn, production.
Commonwealth fisheries active in the waters off Victoria include the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (main source of domestic fresh fish for Sydney and Melbourne markets) and the Shark Gillnet and Shark Hook Sectors (supplies gummy shark or 'flake' to Melbourne) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. The Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery, Small Pelagic Fishery (mostly fishmeal for aquaculture and agriculture) and the Southern Squid Jig Fishery also operate in the waters off Victoria.
In 2014–15 the volume of Victoria's aquaculture production increased by 19 per cent (451 tonnes) to 2,870 tonnes. Salmonids, blue mussels and abalone accounted for 40 per cent, 35 per cent and 15 per cent respectively of this volume and 26 per cent, 15 per cent and 51 per cent respectively of the total value of Victorian aquaculture production in 2014–15.
In 2014–15, fisheries products exported from Victoria were valued at $177 million. This value includes State and Commonwealth fisheries products exported from the ports of Victoria, which may be sourced from Victorian waters or other parts of the country. The main export products include abalone and Southern rocklobster. Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore are the major destinations for Victorian fisheries exports, accounting for 61 per cent, 15 per cent and 7 per cent of the total value of exports in 2014–15, respectively. Other major export destinations include Japan (7 per cent) and China (2 per cent).
Recreational fishing is popular in Victoria. In the national survey of recreational fishers undertaken in the early 2000s it was found that Victoria had approximately 550,000 recreational fishers that fished in the 12 months to May 2000, an estimated 12.7 per cent of Victoria's population (Henry & Lyle 2003). This includes gamefishing for species such as southern bluefin tuna (Green et al 2012). Recreational fishing also includes diving for Southern rocklobster, abalone, and scallops and hook and line fishing for a range of finfish species, such as snapper, King George whiting, black bream and flathead. Freshwater anglers target rainbow and brown trout, as well as native freshwater fish
ABS 2011, Census of Population and Housing, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.
Green C, Brown P, Giri K, Bell J, & Conron S 2012, Quantifying the recreational catch of southern bluefin tuna off the Victorian coast. Recreational Fishing Grant Program, Research Report, Department of Primary Industries, Victoria.
Henry GW & Lyle JM 2003, The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey, FRDC Project No. 99/158.