The hidden value of Australia's sardine industry
In the sea off Port Lincoln, boats work in the sardine fishery, one of the nation’s least known but single largest commercial fishing industry.
Celebrating its 21st year, the sardine fishery is about four times larger than the tuna industry and while not as valuable, the fishery underpins the entire southern blue fin tuna sector.
The sardines are a vital link in the region’s economy with 95 percent of them fed to Port Lincoln’s southern blue fin tuna farms.
The annual catch in the Eyre Peninsula sardine fishery, largely in the southern Spencer Gulf and West Coast, has grown from 1000 metric tons in 1991 to 34,000 metric tons, worth about AUD 20 million today.