Fisheries Economic and Social Data Collection

Developing and implementing a practical and cost-effective system to collect economic and social data is part of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy (2017-2027) reforms.

Fisheries Queensland has engaged BDO EconSearch to collect economic and social data about our fisheries from commercial fishers and other professional commercial fishing industry stakeholders. This information will help to inform fisheries objectives and management decisions as well as provide information about the economic contribution of commercial fishing to Queensland. Data collection is expected to start in the second half of 2019.

Social and economic indicators provide valuable data for fisheries management, the fishing industry and external stakeholders. While many indicators can be applied to all fishing sectors (i.e. charter, commercial, indigenous and recreational), some indicators are only relevant to a specific sector.

Social and economic data is also being collected from recreational fishers through the statewide recreational fishing survey and boat ramp surveys. Fisheries Queensland also intends to collect fishery data from indigenous fishers and is working with researchers and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Indigenous Reference Group to determine the most suitable way to collect this information.

An initial list of indicators (divided into summary groups below) has been developed and presented to the fisheries working groups for feedback. These indicator groups will be refined following stakeholder and contractor input.

Shortlist of social and economic indicator groups with examples

Social indicators

Indicator groups


Use or application

Business operations

  • target customer market
  • opportunities for new crew to enter a fishery

Industry mapping and development

Community connections

  • fishers’ connection or attachment to place
  • business participation in community activities

Understanding stakeholder/community relationships


  • indigenous views towards fishing
  • relative value of fishing compared to other industries

Understanding cultural importance


  • education
  • age

Understanding the human persona of the fishery

Environmental perceptions

  • perception of ecosystem health
  • perception of environmental impact of activity

Evaluating natural resource awareness and perceived value

Future outlook

  • occupational dependency on fisheries
  • fishers’ optimism towards fisheries management
  • willingness to adapt

Understanding the fishery’s vulnerability and opportunities

Intergroup perceptions

  • fishers’ views of other fishers

Developing intergroup communication strategies

Mental and physical health / satisfaction

  • occupational satisfaction

Evaluating fishers’ mental health/satisfaction


  • injuries/accident statistics

Understanding industry safety


  • value of fishing as a ‘way of life’
  • perception of standard of living

Understanding sense of purpose/gratification


  • activities that promote sustainability
  • participation in fisheries management program and/or environmental programs

Assessing stewardship and responsibility

Economic indicators

Indicator groups


Use or application

Business cost (fixed)

  • labour (fixed)
  • unpaid labour (fixed)
  • licence costs
  • insurance

Analysing profitability

Business cost (variable)

  • labour (variable)
  • unpaid labour (variable)
  • fuel and bait costs

Analysing profitability

Business operations

  • number of fishing days
  • year vessel built
  • number of staff (direct jobs)

Analysing business practice and operations

Business revenue

  • unimproved product price
  • sales values

Analysing profitability

Capital assets

  • vessel
  • gear
  • equipment

Analysing business apparatus and return on investment


  • target species
  • catch (tonnes)

Analysing business practice and volume of business


Bank loans, lease liabilities, creditors

Risk and return on investment

External financial factors

Fuel price, lease price, purchasing power

Understanding financial control and variability

External non-financial factors

Stock availability, demand for fresh fish

Understanding financial control and variability

Financial calculations

Gross margin, profit, equity, return on investment

Understanding the productivity and value of the fishery