Published: 29 June 2021 Updated: 25 June 2024
Table of contents


The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) takes a leading role in planning and investing in fisheries research, development and extension (RD&E) to support the ongoing sustainability of our aquatic sectors and aquatic ecosystems.

The Corporation is a co-funded partnership between the Australian Government and fisheries and aquaculture. It is a statutory corporation under the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989 (the PIRD Act) and is responsible to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.  

FRDC plans, invests in and manages RD&E for fishing and aquaculture and the wider community, and we encourage adoption of the resulting knowledge and innovation for impact. We coordinate government and industry investment and work with stakeholders to establish and address their R&D priorities.

On behalf of the Australian Government, we have a significant responsibility to ensure research is undertaken to assist in the management of fisheries and aquaculture resources for their ongoing sustainability. This means a significant proportion of funding is directed to research that has a benefit for the four sectors of the fishing industry: Indigenous, commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture while also delivering a public good benefit to the Australian community.

Evolution of FRDC

Since its inception, FRDC has evolved from a granting body to an organisation that adds value and strategic focus to Australia’s fishing and aquaculture RD&E.

A PDF summary of our evolution is available for download.

This downloadable FRDC brochure below also describes who we are, what we do and our R&D Plan.

FRDC brochure explaining who we are, our mission, what we do and our R&D Plan

FRDC's stakeholders

We work with stakeholders across the four main sectors of fisheries and aquaculture (Indigenous, commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture). It is important to note that these sectors are not mutually exclusive and there is often crossover. For example, Indigenous fishers may participate in customary fishing, conduct aquaculture and commercial fishing, and fish recreationally.

Our stakeholders include:

  • all fishing and aquaculture sectors, including post-harvest activities
  • Federal, state and territory governments, including fisheries and national resource managers
  • the Australian community, on whose behalf aquatic natural resources are managed
  • seafood consumers
  • the research community, including universities, government fisheries organisations, further education organisations (e.g. TAFE), international research organisations and private-sector research providers.

We also have in place an accountability framework to support Research Development Corporations in meeting the needs of stakeholders and demonstrating impact. The framework comprises four core elements, which are described in the Accountability Framework page, along with the following guidelines:

FRDC revenue base

Revenue for R&D investment is based on a co-funding model between the Australian Government and the fishing and aquaculture industries. Funds are collected by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments as part of their fisheries management activities and via a Farmed Prawn Levy. As stipulated in the PIRD Act, our primary revenue source is based on:

  • the Australian Government providing unmatched funds equivalent to 0.50 per cent of the average gross value of Australian fisheries production (AGVP) for the current year plus the two preceding years
  • fishers and aquaculturists providing contributions via government
  • the Australian Government matching this amount up to a maximum of 0.25 per cent of AGVP.


In addition to the requirements of the PIRD Act, we report to our declared representative organisations and are subject to the accountability and reporting obligations set out in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. We produce annual reports for the Commonwealth Parliament and its stakeholders, which are available for download on the Annual Report page.

We also report on performance across all aspects of the business which are available on our Governance and Reporting page.

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