The value of seafood supply in the Australian fishing industry has increased from $8 billion in 2014 to $11 billion in 2017, according to Fisheries and Agriculture Minister James Andrews.
“We now have a strong supply of fish, we have strong fisheries, and we’re doing very well in the fisheries,” Dr Andrews told ABC Radio Melbourne’s AM.
“And so we’re seeing an increase in the prices that are being paid for those fish, which has been a key driver of the economic recovery.”
Dr Andrews said the increase in prices had come as a result of increased competition in the industry.
He said there were currently around 50 fish species that were being traded in the market and that this was driving prices up.
“That’s where we’re currently seeing a lot of the increases in the price of fish,” he said.
“So I think the price is rising because we’re getting more competition.”
Dr Andrew said the industry was well ahead of the game.
“In the past decade we’ve had about five times more fish than we have people, so there’s more competition,” he told AM.
The new prices for Australian fish have increased a lot since 2014.
Dr Andrews added that he hoped the price increases would not be too long-lasting and would eventually see prices fall as demand stabilised.
“The price of food has always been a concern to me because it’s not always fair,” he explained.
“You’re getting the same price for a bag of chips as for a packet of chips, but that’s not fair to consumers.”
He said the new prices would only help reduce costs, particularly for smaller and rural communities.
“For a lot more of the rural community, they can’t afford to eat the same things that they’re eating in the city,” he says.
“There are other things that are happening in the food chain that affect people who are not eating the same food.”
He says the new price rises will only affect a minority of Australians, and only if the industry continues to innovate and increase supply.