Ships in a harbour

Australia’s marine industry value jumps by 28% over two years

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02 July 2021

Australia’s marine industry contributes more than $80 billion annually to the national economy according to a report released today.

The AIMS Index of Marine Industry is a biannual update of the value the marine sector provides to Australia’s wealth by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by AIMS.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and for Industry Development Senator Jonathon Duniam, who released the report, said Australia’s marine industry was one of the most important, vital and fastest-growing parts of the Australian economy.

“The value of Australia’s marine industry increased by more than a quarter between 2015-16 and 2017-18 and has seen a four-fold increase over the past two decades,” he said.

“To put it in perspective, our $81.2 billion blue economy produced more than the agricultural sector ($58.9 billion), coal mining ($69.7 billion) and heavy and civil engineering construction ($68.5 billion) in 2017-18.

“This isn’t surprising if you consider that more than 85% of our population is concentrated near the coast and more than 70% of Australia’s territory lies beneath the ocean.”


graph showing economic output of marine industry compared to land industries

Gas, shipbuilding and tourism driving growth 

The report found that the total income of the marine industry increased substantially in the two years (by almost 28%), driven by growth in offshore natural gas production (up 79%), shipbuilding and repair (up 57%), and marine tourism (up 11%).

Other marine-based activities include, transport, aquaculture and fishing, with the whole marine sector employing nearly 340,000 full time workers.


Graph showing marine industry economic output and direct employment metrics

Chief Executive Officer Dr Paul Hardisty said AIMS’ scientific research contributed to the sustainable productivity of many of marine industries while protecting our oceans.

“Marine-based industries build economic value, create employment, and improve people’s livelihoods,” he said.  “AIMS is here to help ensure that this occurs in a way that also preserves and protects our unique marine ecosystems now and in the future.”

The report, now in its eighth edition, includes breakdowns of key marine industry sub-sectors by state or territory for the first time. The report acknowledges the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented disruption to the Australian economy which will be measured by the next index due to be published in 2022.

The AIMS Index of Marine Industry is a biannual economic update of Australia’s marine sector. The 2020 edition uses the latest data from 2017–18.


Read Senator Duniam’s announcement

Read the latest AIMS Index of Marine Industry.