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Queensland's fisheries tread water

Friday, October 10, 2003

The prospects for Queensland’s fisheries are a mixed bag, according to the latest edition of Prospects for Queensland’s Primary Industries.

The publication, produced twice a year by Australia's Department of Primary Industries, provides short-term forecasts for Queensland’s major food and fibre commodities.

DPI business strategy senior project officer, Lili Pechey, said in the past year a reduction in both marine and kuruma prawn aquaculture production had contributed to a slight decrease in the gross value of total fishery production, which was estimated at $395 million.

“The relatively high value of the Australian dollar also worked against the industry’s local markets and profits in 2002-03, making imported seafood relatively more affordable, while simultaneously making Queensland fisheries exports more expensive,” she said.

“Looking ahead, a return to average seasonal conditions should see the gross value of total fisheries production " comprising wild capture and aquaculture - increase to $410 million in 2003"04.

“Improvements in the value of farmed marine prawns, silver perch and barramundi are expected to be major contributors to the increase in gross value in the coming year,” Miss Pechey said.

Overall, Queensland’s primary industries generated about $8.8 billion in gross value of production in 2002-03 " seven per cent lower than the preliminary Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate for 2001-02.

“This statewide result can mostly be attributed to dry seasonal conditions, which are also expected to impact on 2003-04 levels,” Miss Pechey said.

“Across the state, gross value of production in 2003-04 is forecast to remain the same as in 2002-03, based on an assumed return to normal seasonal conditions and a stabilising Australian Dollar.”

The cattle and calves industry remains the largest financial contributor to Queensland’s primary industries, increasing from the five-year average to account for 34 per cent of forecasted gross value in 2003-04. Horticulture is ranked second, at 31 per cent.

Miss Pechey said that it was important to note that factors such as movements in the exchange rate and the ongoing drought were likely to affect the accuracy of forecasts.

This edition of Prospects features a discussion on the future drivers of Queensland’s food and fibre sector. It examines factors that influence the production and consumption of food and fibre products, and details how changes in these local and global factors could impact on the medium-term performance of the state’s primary industries.

The September 2003 edition of Prospects for Queensland’s Primary Industries is available free of charge from the DPI web site at: http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/businessservices/13707.html

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