Initial discussions between SIA and FRDC have established that the need that this project addresses is to gather the information required to support the Australian fisheries and aquaculture industry to "tell its story" of its contributions to the national, state and regional economies and communities. This story is part of the broader suite of initiates the FRDC is supporting to enable the commercial sector to demonstrate its contributions to the economic and social dimensions of sustainability. Furthermore, this information can be used by the Australian fisheries and aquaculture industry and government agencies for: improving current understanding of industry contributions and future analysis of impact; reporting and accountability of flow-on effects; engagement with surrounding regional communities; and advocacy activity.
In order to generate the information that sits behind this story, the immediate technical need is for:
- a review of existing studies and available data;
- development of a national framework for measuring and evaluating economic and social contributions; and
- estimates of economic contribution using the above framework (phase 1, and therefore undertaken as part of this project); and
- design of studies to measure a wider array of social and non-traditional economic contributions, to be undertaken on a case study basis (phase 2, and therefore planned for but not undertaken as part of this phase 1 project)
A future need to be addressed in Phase 2 (not in this project) is for a systematic approach to prioritising the measurement of contributions to fit within the available resources. Priorities include the need for a national story for fisheries and aquaculture industries as a whole, while at the same time, given the variation in fisheries and aquaculture industry activity across Australia, the need to highlight those significant contributions of various types to regional community well-being. A further priority includes the need to recognise the potential re-purposing of the data for a variety of purposes (including to support subsequent impact studies).