Valuing supply chains for small scale fisheries

Why are commercial fisheries often valued by the landed value of the seafood product when they contribute so much more? There can be considerably more value added along the supply chain that is often overlooked.

The answer frequently relates to how information is gathered. Especially in the case of low value fisheries, where funds are not readily available for in-depth studies.

BDO EconSearch recently developed a methodology to measure the economic contribution of the entire seafood supply chain for small scale fisheries, from boat to consumer. This was achieved by comparing three approaches to information gathering in case study commercial fisheries in Western Australia.

The study found that between five and ten times as many jobs were captured by including the entire supply chain and flow-on effects for the case study fisheries, rather than fishing alone.

Summary results for the economic contribution of the case study fishery supply chains to Western Australia in the 2021/22 financial year, including flow-on effects, were:

  • Octopus Fishery: $34.2m in gross state product and 369 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs.
  • Southern Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Fishery: $17.1m in gross state product and 121 FTE jobs.
  • South Coast Purse Seine Fishery: $7.2m in gross state product and 60 FTE jobs.

The first of three approaches to information gathering utilised published fishery production data and national economic statistics. These statistics describe inter-sector linkages that can be used to model supply-chains. This approach was not recommended on the basis that small scale fishery supply chains are generally not well represented by average national statistics.

The other two approaches were found to be workable and were recommended in different fishery and research contexts. The first relies on a supply chain mapping workshop with people who have local and expert knowledge of the supply chain. The second goes one step further by collecting primary data from businesses along the supply chain through interviews.

This independent study supports research priorities that were identified by industry through the WA Fishing Industry Council and recommended by the WA Research Advisory Committee. It was supported by Fisheries Research and Development Corporation on behalf of the Australian Government and was undertaken by BDO EconSearch with in-kind contributions from the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), other key fishing industry personnel and the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

The Final Report and approach guidelines can downloaded from the FRDC Website.

More information on this study is available through the Principal Investigator at BDO EconSearch, Anders Magnusson. You can contact him here.