CO2 emissions already lowered

5th March 2013

Diesel costs for the South East Trawl fleet are in the order of 20-25% of total operating costs. Diesel prices have been rising steadily for some years and as such the industry has been strongly incentivised to reduce fuel use for some time. An FRDC report about alternate fuels for fishing vessels found that although there was potential for alternate fuels such as natural gas, LPG, lower grade diesel fuels, biodiesel, fish oil, ethanol and hydrogen that there were many issues including safety, storage at sea, competing value as food, unavailability, increased emissions (sulphur and CO2) and cost. It therefore appears that diesel will drive the fleet for the immediate future at least.
The Commonwealth Government assisted industry through a structural adjustment process in 2006 that purchased fishing concessions allowing fishing businesses to voluntarily exit the industry. Figures adapted from an ABARES report on the profitability of Commonwealth fisheries before and after the structural adjustment process shows that the South East Trawl fishery reduced its CO2 emissions by 34%. This was achieved by removing licenses in the fleet allowing the remaining lower number of vessels to catch larger individual (per vessel) volumes of fish.
As a food industry, the fishing industry is exempt from the carbon tax costs of its direct emissions.