Principal Investigator: Ross R. Hodge
Key Words: Southern Rock Lobster, Jasus edwardsii, R&D strategic planning, Market research, Trade access, Fisheries Management
Southern Rocklobster Limited (SRL) provided the services and organisational structure to support and deliver project 2010-402: Southern Rock Lobster National RD&E Planning and Management. R&D projects were mostly conducted across the Southern Rock Lobster producing states as well as market research in China and government focused trade and market access in Canberra. SRL being the recognised Southern Rock Lobster national body with its membership consisting of the three state bodies (SARLAC, TRLFA and VRLA) was well placed to deliver this project. The project was delivered with a focus on the annual priorities of the Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) strategic plan 2011-16, and was managed with the support and guidance of an RD&E committee.
SRL has been the body responsible for national industry RD&E in the Southern Rock Lobster fishing sector since 2006 (project 2006-215). In mid-2010 SRL, FRDC, PIRSA, DPIPWE and DPI-Vic reached in principle agreement to establish an Industry Partnership Agreement (IPA) to consolidate activity in relation to the planning and funding of RD&E activity within the Australian Southern Rock Lobster (ASRL) industry across the three jurisdictions that make up the fishery. The IPA was signed off by all parties with the exception of DPI-Vic by November that year and formed the basis of this project. This was mostly due to the Victorian Rock Lobster Association (VRLA) being non-operational at that time.
The SRL Board of directors provided oversight to all RD&E strategies and a minimum of three face-to-face Board meetings were held each year. The RD&E Committee also met three times face-to-face each year and where scheduling allowed on the day prior to a Board meeting and sometimes as combined meetings. Before each meeting (Board and RD&E Committee) agendas financial reporting and background papers including summaries of all active projects were prepared and circulated. Detailed minutes of all meetings were taken and approved by the relevant committees. A spreadsheet was established to track all R&D projects approved and undertaken across the life of this project.
This project also supported publishing several editions of the SRL News which were distributed in hard copy to over 800 stakeholders. A separate Communications and Extension project that was conducted at the same time as project 2010-402 supported the publishing of an additional 4 Editions of the SRL News.
The project has reinforced the IPA concept in that undertook a clearly defined strategic approach to the investment in R&D planning and management and delivered tangible outcomes with direct benefits to industry. Being able to work as a single industry across the main ASRL producing jurisdictions avoided duplication of R&D and ensured outcomes and benefits to a wider group of stakeholders.
A total of 17 major projects were commissioned, approved, monitored and evaluated during the course of the project. Total expenditure on these projects was $4.7 million. The projects undertaken were in accordance with the identified priorities of the SRL RD&E Strategic Plan, 2011-16 and covered the following areas:
• Market research and trade access,
• Harvest strategies and fisheries management,
• Stock population dynamics and sustainability,
• Extension and communications and
• People development.
It can be hard to directly display the direct impact of RD&E on profitability, however over the course of the IPA and Project 2010-402 GVP has increased from $154 million to approx. $242 million. There is no doubt that the work done especially input into the recently completed free trade agreements and harvest strategies will provide greater certainty and potential for increasing profits into the future.