The NSW fishing and aquaculture industry recognises that there is an increasing demand for seafoods from a growing number of domestic and overseas buyers but it is facing restrictions on various activities because of the limited nature of the fisheries resources and waterfront aquaculture sites in the state.
The industry felt that there was likely to be a shortfall in seafood supply for the year 2000 with the Olympics in Sydney in September therefore it initiated research to appraise the demand and importance of seafood for the catering industry. It also sought an evaluation of the importance of fishing and aquaculture related tourism to the State (together with the value of the seafood) in the light of recent debate over water resource allocation between different parties.
The volume and value of seafood bought and sold by the catering industry (caterers, restaurants clubs and take aways) in NSW in 1994/5 was assessed from interviews with 406 businesses and other information gathered from 21 fishermen's cooperatives and wholesale seafood suppliers.
Approximately 23000 tonnes of fish and shellfish were landed in NSW in 1994/5 valued at almost $160 million and more than 90% of this was sold via the Sydney Fish Market auction. The 21 fishermen's cooperatives play only a minor role in direct sales to the catering industry and the majority of purchases (about 70%) are made through seafood wholesale companies.
This study indicated that in 1994/5 an estimated
- $625 million of seafood was bought by almost 15000 catering businesses
- representing some 30,000 tonnes of product weight in aggregate, of which some 10% was from NSW
- this seafood was sold for approximately $1125 million ; average mark up was 87% for finfish and 76% for shellfish.