Territory Stories

Budget Paper No5 Northern Territory Economy 1998/99



Budget Paper No5 Northern Territory Economy 1998/99

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Tabled Paper 382


Tabled papers for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Michael Reed


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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fisheries under Territory jurisdiction should soon be covered by such plans. FISHING OUTLOOK Management changes have stimulated an increase in fishing effort and further growth is anticipated. These changes include the redefinition of the boundaries of the coastal line fishery, and the introduction of transferability to the demersal, coastal and Timor Reef fisheries. The fishery resource with best growth potential in the short to medium term is red snapper. Grounds in the Timor Sea, west of Darwin, are being targeted for further development. However, adverse sea temperatures (attributed to the El Nio weather pattern) have caused lower than expected catches in late 1996 and early 1997, disrupting this development. Territory waters are relatively free from pollution and the extensive coastal settlement that is evident in other states and overseas fisheries. This clean image of Territory produce will attract premium prices in some markets. The outlook for aquaculture is bright, with access to clean water and ideal climatic temperatures around the Darwin region allowing for the high growth rates in stock. Successful prawn culture has occurred since 1996, and considerable interest from investors could lead to an industry worth $30 to $40 million within 5 to 10 years. Despite the Asian economic crisis, prices for farmed prawns have been relatively strong throughout the second half of 1997. The barramundi aquaculture industry is going through a period of adjustment due to current limitations in the market for plate size fish and increased competition from Asian suppliers. Demand from markets in southern Australia for fresh fish remains strong, though subject to seasonal variation in demand. The Darwin Aquaculture Centre will be moved from the old Stokes Hill Power Station to Channel Island by mid 1998. The centre is conducting research on golden snapper, mud crabs, pearl oysters and zooplankton. It also provides support for the aquaculture industry. The long term outlook for the industry (both landed catch and aquaculture) is promising, with Australian domestic consumption of seafood continuing to increase steadily. The Food and Agriculture Organisation predicts that world seafood demand will exceed supply over the next decade. Continued improvements in transport infrastructure (such as the new Darwin Port), accompanied by greater flexibility in transport modes (such as the new railway), should strengthen the long term capacity of Territory seafood producers to supply quality fresh produce to domestic and overseas markets quicker and more cost-effectively. 62 Northern Territory Economy

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