Published: 4 December 2023 Updated: 18 February 2024
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Australia's seafood industry is undergoing a transformative shift towards sustainability and innovation. Collaborative efforts between researchers and producers are redefining fishing methods and global seafood production standards. 

In South Australia's Northern Zone Rock Lobster Fishery, the Western Australian batten pot, identified through extensive studies, significantly reduces fishing effort by 38% for the same catch. Emphasising sustainability, this alternative pot allows for more efficient Southern Rock Lobster harvesting while enhancing economic performance. 

Similarly, Australian prawn fishers, under the Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries (ACPF), are exploring gear modifications to boost fuel efficiency and decrease bycatch. Workshops led by experts like Steve Kennelly and Matt Broadhurst are fostering community support and knowledge sharing among prawn fisheries.  

Industry innovations like 'Tom’s Fisheye' reducing small fish bycatch by over 40% in the Northern Prawn Fishery, showcase the industry's commitment to environmental stewardship. The industry-wide movement towards more sustainable fishing methods, reflects practical, real-world innovation.  

This collaborative approach, bringing together researchers and fishers, ensures the development of technically sound and widely accepted solutions. Australia's seafood industry narrative underscores a harmonious blend of environmental responsibility and economic growth, setting a global benchmark for sustainable seafood production.  

Continual gear trials and research projects across fisheries aim to refine practices, reduce unwanted catch, and align with community expectations. This collective effort signifies a commitment to innovation and sustainability, propelled by the adoption of gillnet alternatives. 


Related projects

Project Number



2023-072 Educational travel trip for Ocean Trap and Line industry development to explore alternative fishing practices which help prevent TEP species interactions and ghost fishing Current
2023-009 Reducing impacts on threatened, endangered, and protected species in the Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery Current


Multi-fishery collaboration to assess population abundances and post release survival of threatened Sawfish in Northern Australia 


2021-119 Improving bycatch reduction strategies and escape vents in Queensland Mud Crab fisheries Current
2021-091 Whale entanglement mitigation program – understanding whale population dynamics, entanglement dynamics and gear modifications to reduce entanglements in WRL gear Current

Assessing the impacts of trawl gear on sawfishes in the Northern Prawn Fishery with the aim to identify and test mitigation measures ensuring the long-term sustainability of Sawfish populations in northern Australia

2018-036 Seal-fisher-ecosystem interactions in the Lower Lakes and Coorong: understanding causes and impacts to develop longer-term solutions
2016-058 Can sawfish bycatch within the NPF be mitigated using an electric field?


Disseminating existing bycatch reduction and fuel efficiency technologies throughout Australia's prawn fisheries 



TSRA: Scoping the viability of a commercial net and crab fishery in the northern Torres Strait



Developing alternative strategies for managing seal-fisher interactions in the South Australian Lakes and Coorong Fishery 



In-shore fisheries workshop 



Trials of longlines to mitigate captures of Australian sea lion and other high-risk species by SESSF shark operators targeting Gummy Shark in waters off SA 



Assessment of novel gear designs to reduce interactions between species of conservation interest and commercial fishing nets 



Seafood CRC: improving profitability in the Western Rocklobster fishery using a Rocklobster trap 


2008-101 Tactical Research Fund: Extension of fisheries research and development funded research results on improved bycatch reduction devices to the Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery Completed


Empowering Industry R&D: Trials of gear modifications to reduce bycatch in freshwater fyke nets 



Investigating options to improve bycatch reduction in tropical prawn trawl fisheries - a workshop for fishers 



Relative efficiency of fishing gears and investigation of resource availability in tropical demersal Scalefish fisheries (NDSF) 



Gear interaction of non-targeted species in the Lakes and Coorong commercial and recreational fisheries of South Australia 



Effects of Trawling Subprogram: collaborative extension program by the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Seanet and Ecofish for the development and adoption of square mesh codends in select prawn and scallop trawl fisheries in Queensland

2000-173 Effects of Trawling Subprogram: assessment and improvement of BRDs and TEDs in the NPF -  a cooperative approach by fishers, scientists, fisheries technologists, economists and conservationists Completed
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