Developing Economic and Social Indicators for Commercial Fisheries in Queensland and South Australia

This case study was originally published 2 September 2019.

Queensland’s commercial fisheries catch a wide range of species and contribute economic value, jobs and seafood to regional communities. Sustaining a profitable fishing industry is crucial to many of these communities – which economic data can help with.

Fisheries Queensland has contracted BDO EconSearch to develop economic indicators for the state’s commercial fisheries to support their continuing operation and profitability.

BDO EconSearch has provided economic indicators to the South Australian fishing industry for the past 20 years, benefitting fishing businesses and the industry as a whole. This research has been conducted under contract from Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA). Access to economic data provides insights to industry and government to help realise opportunities and solve problems as they arise. This video captures just some of these stories.

Veteran commercial fisher of 75 years, Maurice Corigliano, recognised that in South Australia getting the best out of their fishery required good data, sourced independently. He now says that “without economic research, I don’t think there’d be a fishery here.” Independent expertise and decades of experience in fisheries economics means that our team provides the necessary objective and accurate analysis to industry.

No sensitive information is ever divulged in our process, as Michael Tokley from South Australia’s Central Zone Abalone Fishery attests. This is key to why we have been trusted with this sensitive data in South Australia. Individual survey responses are never shared beyond the BDO EconSearch team without consent from participants – no information appears in reports or is provided to government in a way that any individual or their information can be identified.

Estimating the economic activity and number of jobs supported by commercial fishing is a key component of the economic indicators produced in South Australia. We estimated that in 2016/17 around 1,300 full-time equivalent jobs existed in fishing businesses in South Australia - but this is just the start of the story.

A wide range of businesses benefit from the commercial fishing supply-chain: mechanics, processors, wholesalers, accountants and transport businesses, among many others. Providing income in regional communities also leads to spending, which supports more jobs. An estimated 3,900 full-time equivalent jobs were supported by commercial fishing activities in South Australia in 2016/17 once all other industries are considered.

From September 2019, the BDO EconSearch team will contact Queensland commercial boat and harvest licence owners and invite them to participate in a survey. Charter licence holders will be invited a little later. The data provided by fishing businesses is essential to producing good quality economic indicators, so fishers are encouraged to participate.

Visit the Economic and Social Indicators for Queensland’s Commercial Fisheries page on the BDO EconSearch website for the latest information.