Report shows 28 per cent increase in Australia’s ocean economy

Australia’s marine industry contributes more than $80 billion annually to the national economy, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

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 the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and for Industry Development Jonno Duniam said Australia’s marine industry is 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,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“To put that into 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.

“Our Government is committed to ensuring Australia continues to lead the world in the study of marine sciences and supporting the work of AIMS.”

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.

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 and the 2020 edition uses the latest data from 2017–18.

Visit the AIMS website at:

Media contact: Assistant Minister Duniam's office 02 6277 3034