The FRDC HDR has identified the lack of information on markets and price formation in Australian fisheries as a major research gap. The need for such analyses has also been discussed within the AFMA Economics working group, as such information was seen as essential in supporting fisheries management.
This project is an attempt to reduce this research gap. In doing so, the information produced will be of benefit to fisheries managers, fishers and the broader community as we move our fisheries closer to maximising net economic returns.
The focus of this study is on the markets relevant to the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF), which is the main supplier of fresh fish to the Sydney and Melbourne markets. To date, only very limited empirical research has been conducted for these fisheries in Australia [4-6], most of which is now fairly old and is unlikely to be valid for current market conditions. Since the early 2000s the seafood market in Australia has changed, for example, due to increasing seafood imports and increasing domestic aquaculture production. Hence, market dynamics for products supplied by domestic fisheries may have also altered.
This case study was identified by the FRDC HDR as of high importance due to the current challenges facing the fisher in terms of unfilled quotas. One potential contributing reason that quotas are not being taken is that to do so would result in lower prices; of potential benefit to consumers but not to producers. Instead, the lower catches may be supporting higher prices. The outcomes of this project can provide insights into the extent of to which the marker is contributing to quota undercatch.
The study will focus on the impact of changes in supply on the price received on the markets. While the potential response of fishers to these changes in price (including avoiding large catches) is also of relevance to fishery managers, this will require further bioeconomic modelling work that is beyond the scope of this study, but may be seen as a high priority for future research.