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1. Overview

This research, development and extension (RD&E) plan outlines a significant change in the way the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) will plan and invest in RD&E for fishing and aquaculture over the next five years (2015–20). Since its inception, the FRDC has evolved from being essentially a granting body to one that adds value and strategic focus to RD&E for Australian fishing and aquaculture.

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The FRDC will use three investment approaches to implement the direction of this RD&E Plan: lead, collaborate and partner. Under these approaches RD&E planning, prioritisation and funding will occur in the following ways:

Lead: The FRDC will allocate a significant portion of the Australian Government's public-good funding it receives and take the lead in priority setting for RD&E with a national focus.

Collaborate: The FRDC will provide mechanisms and incentives for those sectors or jurisdictions under partnership agreements to leverage their funding where there is alignment with priorities at the national level.

Partner: There will be greater responsibility given to the end users of RD&E to set priorities under partnership agreements. Funding for this RD&E comes from industry contributions, the matching contribution from the Australian Government, and some additional public-good funding for the jurisdictions.

This five-year RD&E Plan has been developed through a comprehensive process of assessing the operating environment for fishing and aquaculture, consultation, analysis and consideration.

Consultation has included the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, the Department of Agriculture, those involved in aquaculture, commercial fishers, Indigenous fishers, recreational fishers, research providers, post-harvest processors and fisheries managers from federal, state and territory governments.

The FRDC's new strategic focus will direct RD&E investment during the life of this RD&E Plan towards the three national priorities that have been identified through the consultation process:

  • Ensuring that Australian fishing and aquaculture products are sustainable and acknowledged to be so.
  • Improving productivity and profitability of fishing and aquaculture.
  • Developing new and emerging aquaculture growth opportunities.

This means concentrating on outcomes that will have a greater impact on the future of fishing and aquaculture in Australia.

The FRDC will continue to lead on national RD&E infrastructure that addresses cross-sector and community areas of concern. This infrastructure consists of the FRDC's subprograms and coordination programs as well as RD&E concerning people development, and the delivery of key services (e.g. FishNames, SafeFish).

The FRDC will develop and maintain partnerships with various fishing and aquaculture sectors and jurisdictions, encouraging them to take a major role in developing RD&E priorities. It is expected that sector, jurisdictional and national RD&E priorities will interact and contribute to the achievements of one another.

As well as guiding the FRDC's direction and investment, this RD&E Plan shows how the FRDC will work with stakeholders in the fishing, aquaculture, management and research communities to achieve the targets set out in this RD&E Plan.

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