There are multiple threats to ongoing access/operation of commercial inshore fisheries (finfish and crab) along Queensland’s east coast. These include port developments and expansions, coastal development, public perception (which influences management) and competition between fishing sectors (which also influences management). These threats to access could adversely affect not only commercial fishers themselves, but also secondary industries as well as the availability of seafood to local communities. It is now well documented that consumers prefer local seafood products, and are willing to pay more for seafood labelled ‘local’ (Tobin et al. 2010; Calogeras et al. 2011).
It could be assumed that reducing these threats and ensuring ongoing operation of commercial fisheries and local seafood supply is desirable, for many social and economic reasons. Yet there is little information about the value inshore commercial fisheries and fishing businesses provide to communities (aside from the much used GVP, which has long been recognised as a nonsensical measure of value (e.g. Edwards 1991, McPhee & Hundloe 2004)), or the relative value of local seafood compared to non-local seafood for consumers.
Without knowing the real economic value of commercial fisheries and local seafood for regional communities, decisions regarding management of, and access to, resources are likely to be ill informed. Real value information can be used to ensure appropriate access of fishers and consumers to fisheries resources, better assess the economic impacts of other coastal activities that negatively affect fishing, or better inform reallocation processes where necessary.