Report values New Zealand seafood industry at NZD 4.2 billion

New Zealand’s seafood industry is worth NZD 4.2 billion (USD 3.1 billion, EUR 2.6 billion), according to a new economic study disseminated by the country’s seafood trade group Seafood New Zealand.

The study, completed by analytical firm Business and Economic Research Ltd. (BERL), found that seafood is New Zealand’s fifth-largest export by value and represents 3.2 percent of the country’s total exports. The report includes value generated by deep-water and inshore fishing as well as shellfish harvesting, but excludes aquaculture, which the study estimated has revenues of another NZD 500 million (USD 372 million, EUR 313.3 million).

A second report, compiled by New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, estimated the value of the country’s seafood exports at NZD 1.8 billion (USD 1.3 billion, EUR 1.1 billion) for the 12-month period ending in June 2017. The report predicts that seafood exports will reach NZD 2 billion (USD 1.5 billion, EUR 1.3 billion) annually by 2020.

“It is a case of value before volume. We are not catching more fish – the wild capture total has remained stable over the past five years,” Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst said. “The industry knows that fishing smarter is the way of the future,” Pankhurst said. “As the report points out, the Quota Management System sees New Zealand wild fish stocks managed at, or above, levels that ensure the fisheries are sustainable. Adding value is the road to growth,”

Aquaculture is expected to be the main driver of growth for the New Zealand seafood industry in the future, according to the report. The sector is expected to grow by an average of 6.6 percent per year through increased mussel production and a planned expansion of salmon farming.

“Where there is an increase in volume is in the aquaculture sector, which continues to perform strongly,” Pankhurst said.

Rock lobsters are New Zealand’s most valuable seafood export, with mussels a close second, followed by hoki, squid, salmon, and orange roughy, Seafood New Zealand reported. New Zealand’s seafood is exported to more than 120 countries, the organization said, but its key markets are China, Australia, the United States and the European Union.

The reports showed the seafood industry employed nearly 13,500 people in fishing and seafood processing alone, representing 0.7 percent of the entire country’s total employed population.

Jeremy Helson, the chief executive of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, said the reports confirmed the importance of commercial fishing to New Zealand.

“It is about jobs – and particularly jobs in regional New Zealand,” Helson said. “The better the industry does, the better off fishing communities are around the country.”


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