Project number: 2010-222
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $60,350.00
Principal Investigator: Nick Ruello
Organisation: The Samin Group Pty Ltd
Project start/end date: 19 Dec 2010 - 28 Sep 2011


Imports provide about 60 to 75% of current seafood supply in Australia according to various sources. But reliable information on the make up of much of this seafood is not available, because of inadequacies in the quantity and quality of data currently published by ABARE.

In our research preparing this application we discovered that there are no statistics available on the volume of some very important species such as basa or barramundi because import data on these species is not collated by Australian Customs because the species do not have an international code number. This lack of data has been responsible for some of the confusion and uncertainty about the role these two imports play in sales and consumption in Australia.

There has been no in-depth study of the imported fish trade in living memory. There is no reliable detailed picture of the types of imports, the nature of their supply chain in Australia, their utilization in manufacturing, bait, retail or restaurants nor their contribution to trade and consumption. (The seafood industry has hardly noticed the strong growth of the canned seafood category and how it has eclipsed the total value of fresh and frozen seafood).

Consequently industry, government agencies and researchers in the fisheries, food, public health and quarantine field have had to rely on incomplete and often unreliable information and quantitative data; this means their decision making and priority setting is impaired.

This study aims to overcome the absence of a detailed reliable picture of what happens to imported seafood in this country and to identify what accurate data on Australia’s imports are available here or obtainable from overseas sources.


1. To identify and evaluate the type and quality of data on Australian imports available in Australia or from overseas sources
examine options for improving the collection and collation of meaningful import data.
2. To examine and document the composition of the seafood import sector: business types (manufacturing,importing, general seafood sales etc) and sizes and approximate numbers in each state.
3. Examine and document the types, volumes and landed price of the major and key imports to Australia, using the latest ABARE Fisheries Statistics and data gathered from detailed interviews with importers (with particular reference to fresh and frozen seafood, and ignoring dried seafood).
4. Estimate the flow of selected products into bait, manufacturing, food service and the retail supply chain, and the relative contribution or importance to such trade and to final consumption. Document landed prices, and where possible, estimate the final value of the seafood at last sale.
5. Undertake a case study on barramundi, basa and prawns with an in-depth examination of the price competition and other interaction of the imports with domestic equivalents.
6. Review the imported seafood trade patterns and flows within Australia and document likely changes in trading patterns with various goods
7. Review and document the food safety, sustainability status and biosecurity in the key exporting countries.

Final report

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