International trade is an important part of the Australian seafood industry.

Australia’s fisheries and aquaculture industry is a minor global player, producing less than 0.2 per cent of global fisheries and aquaculture supply. However, the industry exports a range of high unit value fisheries and aquaculture products, with an estimated production value of $1.3 billion (or 46 per cent of total fisheries value) exported in 2013–14. Comparitively the total value of Australian imports of fisheries and aquaculture products was $2 billion.

Australian fisheries export a range of high unit value products, with export earnings accounting for 46 per cent of the total production value in 2013–14. Japan was the major export destination for Australian fisheries and aquaculture products until 2004–05. Since then, exports of Australia’s fisheries and aquaculture products to Japan have declined and the pattern of Australian fisheries and aquaculture exports has shifted towards the Hong Kong, China and Vietnam region.

Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG)

The Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG) was initially established by Abalone and Rock lobster exporters, in conjunction with the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, to advocate for the liberalisation and development of direct trade between Australia and China and address other trade and market related issues. The group now acts as a conduit between industry and government on Trade and Market access issues in relation to all major markets into which Australian wild caught Abalone and Lobster are exported and potential export markets. 

For more information on STAG and their work program visit  


​SafeFish provides technical advice to support Australia’s seafood trade and market access negotiations and helps to resolve barriers to trade.  It does this by bringing together experts in food safety and hygiene to work with the industry and regulators to agree and prioritise technical issues impacting on free and fair market access for Australian seafood.

The FRDC is a core funder and partner of Safefish. For more information visit:

Australian Seafood Trade and Market Access Databases

On 15 February 2016, the FRDC Board decided it would close the trade and market access website. The Board noted that key trade priorities and activities for both government and industry, such as SafeFish, market research and trade negotiations (via Seafood Trade Advisory Group STAG) would continue.

The FRDC took over management of the trade databases, following the closure of Seafood Services Australia in 2013. After three years running and maintaining the databases, the FRDC Board requested a review be undertaken that would ensure that the service being provided continues to meet industry needs.

An external agency was appointed to undertake the review of the program. As part of the review a survey was sent to over 600 FRDC stakeholders who had either indicated an interest in trade or were an export business. Follow up emails were sent to encourage stakeholders to respond by both the FRDC and the Seafood Trade Advisory Group. In addition, advice was sought from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

As part of the decision the FRDC will examine options for alternate service providers taking on the trade data into the future (maintaining, updating and hosting) – for example the National Farmers Federation, Government funded Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL) or a private service provider. If you would like more information on the trade and market access data contact Peter Horvat. 

Trade Statistics

Annual trade data, updated monthly is now available and provides a snapshot of seafood export and imports. The FRDC is also looking at launching a similar dashboard for domestic market data.

Try the new seafood trade dashboards: