Commercial fishing's contribution
How valuable is commercial fishing?
Commercial fishing plays a significant part in the New Zealand economy. This report, prepared for the New Zealand commercial fishing industry, concludes that on average, in the five years to 2015, commercial fishing provided:
- a direct output value of $1,727 million and a total output value of $4,179 million;
- a direct contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) of $544 million and a total GDP contribution of $1,609 million, being 0.7% of New Zealand GDP;
- direct employment of 4,305 full time equivalents (FTEs) and total employment of 13,468 FTEs, being 0.7% of NZ employment; and
- exports of $1,500 million, being New Zealand’s fifth largest export commodity by value and representing 3.2 percent of total exports.
What were the considerations?
Commercial fishing comprises both capture fishing and seafood processing activities. Fishing activities made up about 50 percent of the output value and the GDP contribution of commercial fishing.
The Fishing industry provides raw products for processing, and relies on the Seafood Processing industry to purchase its harvest. The Fishing industry and the Seafood Processing industry are strongly connected and a number of New Zealand companies operate in both. Consequently, important synergies are exploited in their fishing, processing and marketing. Our valuations account for this overlap.
The commercial fishing industry valuations in this report are unique and given in terms of economic contributions:
- for fishing sectors: Deepwater; Inshore; Highly Migratory Species (HMS); and Shellfish
- for fishing gear and species for the Fishing industry and the Seafood Processing industry, separately as well as combined
- derived from catch data from the Ministry for Primary Industries
- for “capture” fishing and so excludes the contribution of the aquaculture industry
What relative contributions are made?
In the five years to 2015, on average:
- Deepwater fishing produced a total output value of $1,846 million, total contribution to GDP of $711 million and total employment of 5,948 FTEs
- HMS produced a total output value of $197 million, total contribution to GDP of $76 million and total employment of 637 FTEs
- Inshore fishing produced a total output value of $1,113 million, total contribution to GDP of $427 million and total employment of 3,593 FTEs
- Shellfish produced a total output value of $1,022 million, total contribution to GDP of $394 million and total employment of 3,291 FTEs
The species that underpin the catch value of the fishing sectors are:
- Deepwater: Hoki (37 percent); Ling (13 percent); Arrow Squid (11 percent)
- HMS: Southern Bluefin Tuna (32 percent); Albacore Tuna (23 percent); Skipjack Tuna (20 percent)
- Inshore: Snapper (15 percent); Blue Cod (9 percent); Tarakihi (6 percent)
- Shellfish: Rock Lobster (63 percent) and Paua (28 percent)
The trawling, seining and netting gear sub-industry is the most significant contributor of value, providing just over 60 percent of the fishing value and economic contribution.
FMA 7 Challenger has the largest average catch value, at $164 million over the five years to 2015, followed by FMA 5 Southland ($149 million) and FMA 1 Auckland East ($120 million). FMA1 has the largest catch value for a North Island FMA. Employment in the Fishing sector is similar in magnitude to that of Beef Cattle Farming. Within the Fishing sector, the Seafood Processing industry has greater employment than the Fruit and Vegetable Processing industry and has similar employment to the Apple and Pear Growing industry.
What did the research find?
To ensure the seafood industry continues to provide a range of social, cultural and economic benefits for New Zealand, we need our future marine management to recognise and provide for those who rely on it.
Our analysis clearly demonstrates the national and regional importance of commercial fishing to New Zealand.
You can read the full media report here: Seafood New Zealand