Stories about the so-called “dining boom” mostly focus on Australia’s potential to export more fruit, vegetables and meat to Asia. Exporting seafood to emerging markets gets less attention from stockmarket investors, even though fish is a key part of Asian diets.
Unlike most developed countries, Australia exports a large proportion of its seafood. Asia consumes about 70 per cent of our seafood, such as tuna, abalone, rock lobster and other high-value products. We import canned tuna, frozen fillets and other lower-value seafood.
Production of Australian seafood has been stable over two decades. Within that, a sharp increase in aquaculture production is offsetting a decline in fish netted in wild capture. Aquaculture refers to fish bred and reared for farming.
It’s no surprise that more aquaculture stocks are emerging in Australia. The coming middle-class boom in Asia will boost demand for Australian produce as diets are upgraded. Another 2 billion Asians are expected to join the middle class by 2030, on OECD forecasts.