A new report has revealed aquaculture has a key role to play in the wellbeing of rural and regional communities and in the reliable supply of high-quality seafood, and supports and encourages tourism.
Department of Primary Industries’ Deputy Director General Fisheries, Dr Geoff Allan, said The Social and Economic Evaluation of NSW Coastal Aquaculture has been prepared by the University of Technology Sydney and funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC). This compliments a study on Social and Economic Evaluation of NSW Coastal Professional Wild-Catch Fisheries by the same group released last year.
“The report highlights the close relationship between aquaculture and coastal communities and is only the second known Australian study of its kind into the industry’s contributions to community wellbeing,” Dr Allan said.
“Aquaculture plays a significant role in NSW providing employment and contributing to regional economies, with more than 1,750 full-time jobs in NSW in 2013-14. The economic output for aquaculture and the flow-on effect to seafood processing and retail businesses was $226 million in 2013-14.”
“We need to think differently about how we assess the NSW aquaculture industry because it contributes much more to communities than just the ‘farm gate’ value of production.
“Aquaculture contributes to community wellbeing through local employment, environmental stewardship including the protection of water quality, and provision of sustainable seafood.”
The report found 94 per cent of people agree it is important NSW produces its own seafood, 89 per cent of NSW residents expect to eat local seafood when they visit the coast, and 76 per cent feel that eating local seafood is an important part of their coastal holiday experience.
It concluded that the fresh, locally produced seafood and environmentally protected waterways associated with modern aquaculture are key attractions for the tourism industry, while tourists are an important market for aqua culturists in turn.
The report will be used by government in the assessment of new developments to ensure the principles of ecologically sustainable development are met.
It also provides the community with a comprehensive information source of the contribution that aquaculture makes to coastal NSW.
Aquaculture plays a significant role in NSW providing employment and contributing to regional economies, with more than 1,750 full-time jobs in NSW.