Fisheries economic indicators

​​The Australian fisheries economic indicators report presents results from ABARES' fishery surveys on financial returns to fishers and net economic returns from fisheries to the Australian community. The report includes a range of other economic indicators, including productivity analysis.

[expand all]

Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery

This report covers the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (CTS), and the Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector (GHTS) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF), with new survey results for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years and non-survey based estimates of net economic return for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years.

Key issues

  • Profit at full equity wa​s positive and increased for the average boat in the CTS from 2013-14 to 2014-15 but was lower than the peak in 2008-09. In the GHTS, profit at full equity improved from negative to positive between 2013-14 and 2014-15, but the result in 2015-16 was lower than its 2008-09 level.
  • Net economic return (NER) in the CTS increased in 2014-15 following three years of decline. Preliminary non-survey based estimates indicate that NER further increased in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years.
  • NER in the GHTS is estimated to have been negative in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years. However, preliminary non-survey based estimates indicate that NER was positive in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years with 2015-16 being the first positive NER in the fishery since 2008-09

Downloads

Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2017: Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery - PDF [2.5 MB]

Data

Supporting data tables: Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2017: Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery - MS Excel [0.1 MB]

Northern Prawn Fishery

This report presents results of the 2015 Northern Prawn Fishery survey, comprising survey based estimates of financial and economic performance for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 financial years, as well as non-survey based estimates of economic performance for the fishery in the 2014-15 financial year. Other indicators presented in the report include the total factor productivity index, input costs and output prices and management costs.

Key Issues

  • The report has found that profit at full equity, a profit indicator that assumes that all assets are fully owned by operators, increased for the average boat in the fishery between 2012-13 and 2013-14, from $239 066 to $382 939.
  • Net economic returns (NER) for the fishery rose from $5.2 million in 2012-13 to $12.3 million in 2013-14. The increase in NER from 2012-13 to 2013-14 was primarily driven by faster growth in fishing income than in fishing costs. The growth in fishing income was driven by increased landings of tiger prawns and banana prawns offsetting slightly lower beach prices for each.
  • The report indicates that total factor productivity (TFP) improved from 2004-05 to 2013-14. A strong relationship is evident between TFP and landed banana prawn catch, which is in turn largely dependent on seasonal conditions. Improved productivity also reflects the targeting of maximum economic yield (MEY) in the tiger prawn component of the fishery from 2004-05, effort reduction targets by management and the structural adjustment package (completed 2006-07) removing excess capital in the industry.

Downloads

Report - Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2015: financial and economic performance of the Northern Prawn Fishery - PDF [1.8 MB]
Report - Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2015: financial and economic performance of the Northern Prawn Fishery - MS Word [1.5 MB]

Data

Supporting data tables - Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2015: financial and economic performance of the Northern Prawn Fishery - MS Excel [0.1 MB]

Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery - 2017

Authors: David Mobsby and Andrea Bath

map - Relative fishing intensity – Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery 2016 PNG

Summary

This report presents results of the 2014 Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery survey, comprising survey based estimates of financial and economic performance for the 2013–14 and 2014–15; financial years, as well as non-survey based estimates of economic performance for the fishery in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years. Other indicators presented in the report include total factor productivity, terms of trade, management costs and quota latency.

Alongside the usual detailed information about the financial performance of the average vessel and the overall economic performance of the fishery, this report also provides analysis of additional economic indicators for the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF). The construction of these indicators draw upon the data collected through the fisheries survey program. Together with the financial and economic performance information, these indicators help to form a comprehensive picture of the economic performance of the ETBF over a number of years.

Key issues

Relative fishing intensity, Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery, 2016.

  • Profitability for the average ETBF operator was positive in 2013–14 and 2014–15. Profit at full equity, a profit indicator that assumes all assets are fully owned by operators, increased for the average boat in the fishery from $63,074 in 2013–14 to $250,973 in 2014–15.
  • The rate of return to full equity increased for the average boat in the fishery from 4 per cent in 2013–14 and to 11 per cent in 2014–15.
  • The rise in profit at full equity was largely a result of total cash receipts increasing proportionately higher than total cash costs.
  • Crew costs accounted for the largest share of cash costs in 2013–14 and, despite increasing, did not change significantly as a proportion of total cash costs in 2014–15.

  • Fuel costs were another large contributor to cash costs. Fuel costs decreased by 17 per cent in 2014–15, which could reflect lower fuel prices and reduced number of fishing days.
  • Net economic return for the fishery increased from –$0.6 million in 2013–14 to $6.7 million in 2014–15.

  • Higher net economic return in 2014–15 was mainly a result of fishing income increasing proportionately higher than fishing costs. Operating costs in 2014–15 were moderated by lower fuel costs.

  • Preliminary net economic return in 2015–16 is estimated to have risen to $15.7 million. This was estimated to be have been driven by increased catch, higher prices of key species and a significant fall in fuel price.

  • Preliminary net economic return for 2016–17 is estimated to have fallen to $7.3 million, reflecting a fall in fishing income.

Other indicators

Total factor productivity (TFP) analysis shows a rising trend of productivity in the ETBF, which increased by an annual average of 4 per cent between 2002–03 and 2014–15.

The terms of trade index, an indicator measuring the level of fishery output prices compared with input costs faced by fishers, generally declined between 2002–03 and 2012–13. Terms of trade improved in the ETBF from 2013–14 to 2014–15, reflecting a combination of higher fish prices and a fall in fuel prices in 2014–15. This had a strengthening effect on NER for the fishery.

Total management costs in the fishery have generally been decreasing since 2004–05. Management costs per vessel remained high from 2006–07 to 2007–08 when implementation of the Securing our Fishing Future structural adjustment package caused a restructure of the fishery. This is because similar management costs were shared among fewer vessels. Management cost per vessel has steadily declined since 2007–08. Management cost as a percentage of GVP declined from a high of 11 per cent in 2005–06 to 3 per cent in 2015–16.

Management through total allowable commercial catch (TACC) limits and individual transferable quotas (ITQs) commenced in 2011. The level of latency in the ETBF, measured by the proportion of TACC not caught in the fishery, has varied across the key species since 2011. In the 2015 fishing season, very low latency levels were recorded for yellowfin tuna and striped marlin. In contrast, latency for albacore, a relatively low unit value species, remained high in the 2015 season—nearly two-thirds of the TACC remained uncaught that season. In the 2016 season latency increased significantly for yellowfin tuna but declined for albacore, bigeye tuna and swordfish.

Issues for management

From March 2011 output controls were introduced for five key target species in the form of TACCs and allocated as ITQs to fishers that were operating in the fishery. This has provided fishers greater flexibility to fish with a more efficient combination of inputs. The transferability of fishing rights has also allowed quota to be allocated to more efficient operators. However, the success of output controls depends on setting levels of TACCs that meet the management objective. In the context of internationally shared stocks, setting TACCs at levels that maximise NER is complicated by uncertainty around the catch of other jurisdictions. Although NER in the ETBF is estimated to have been positive between 2014–15 and 2016–17, managers may need to consider adjustments to TACC settings if future economic performance of the fishery significantly deteriorates.

Download

Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2017: Financial and economic performance of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery - PDF [3.2 MB]
Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2017: Financial and economic performance of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery - MS Word [2.8 MB]

Data

Supporting data tables: Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2017: Financial and economic performance of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery - MS Excel [0.1 MB]

Torres Strait Prawn Fishery – 2013

This report presents results of the 2013 Torres Strait Prawn Fishery survey, comprising survey based estimates of financial and economic performance for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 financial years, as well as non-survey based estimates of economic performance for the fishery in the 2012-13 financial year. Other indicators presented in the report include the productivity index, input costs and output prices and management costs.

Financial performance

  • Profit at full equity - an estimate of profits based on all assets being fully owned by operators - was negative for the average vessel in the fishery in 2010-11 and 2011-12, at -$89 491 and -$87 366 respectively.
  • The change in profit at full equity was primarily attributed to higher cash receipts, which in turn led to higher vessel cash income and higher profit at full equity.

Economic performance

  • The net economic returns (including management costs) remained negative at -$2.1 million in 2010-11 and -$2.7 million in 2011-12.
  • In 2012-13 preliminary net economic returns were estimated at -$2.3 million using non-survey based methods.
  • The negative net economic returns from the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery is mainly attributed to the high costs associated with operating in a remote fishery.

Downloads

Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2013 - Torres Strait Prawn Fishery - MS Word [1 MB]
Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2013 - Torres Strait Prawn Fishery - PDF [1.7 MB]

Data

Supporting data tables: Australian fisheries economic indicators report 2013 - Torres Strait Prawn Fishery - MS Excel [0 MB]
​​

Economic indicators in fisheries management

In September 2007 the Australian Government released the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy to provide guidelines for sustainable and profitable management of Commonwealth fisheries. The policy aims to maintain key commercial stocks at ecologically sustainable levels and maximise economic returns to the Australian community by targeting maximum economic yield (MEY) (DAFF 2007). To assess the performance of Commonwealth fisheries against their MEY targets, fishery policymakers frequently rely on economic indicators that provide them with information to inform management decisions and monitor performance.

Informing management decisions against the economic objective

This type of economic indicator is forward-looking and can advise fishery managers on policy settings necessary to achieve MEY. Bioeconomic models provide indicators for this purpose; models have been developed for the Northern Prawn Fishery (Kompas & Che 2003), the Great Australian Bight Trawl Fishery (Kompas et al. 2012) and the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (Kompas & Che 2008). Management strategy evaluation based approaches that include an economic component can also serve this purpose.

Monitoring management performance against the economic objective

This type of economic indicator is retrospective and assesses previous economic performance. It can provide insight into the impact of previous management decisions on economic performance. Most indicators examined in this report fall under this category. This includes the survey-based estimation of NER, productivity indexes, entitlement values, management costs, latency and terms of trade analysis.

Total factor productivity analysis is an economic tool used to assess how well fishers use inputs to produce outputs and how their ability to convert inputs into outputs over time has changed with changes in the fishery’s operating environment. Productivity indexes can inform fishery managers about the effect of management arrangements on average productivity levels in the fishery.

Analysis of fishers’ terms of trade provides an indication of drivers behind changes in profitability or NER. It uses an index approach to examine changes in the price of inputs and outputs for a fishery over time and reveals information about the productivity improvements required to offset long-term declines in the terms of trade.

In contrast, entitlement values (or quota values) signal the expected value of future profits to be obtained from the fishery. When compared over time, entitlement values can serve as a general indicator for how well the resources in a fishery have been sustained or managed. If entitlement values are increasing over time, this suggests resources are being managed effectively because operating in the fishery is deemed to have become more profitable.

Measures of management costs, in absolute terms and as a proportion of gross value of fishery production (GVP) and per active boat, also provide information about the cost-effectiveness of fishery management—another key objective referred to in the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

Latency, or the proportion of uncaught quota, can indicate limited economic incentives for fishers to participate in the fishery. A fishery where operators are not utilising their right to fish is unlikely to be near its MEY target.​

​ ​
Last reviewed:
22 May 2018