FRDC is delighted to be part of a new ground-breaking project to chart the course for Australia’s seafood expansion.
This ambitious undertaking, titled ‘Futures of Seafood’ (FRDC-Project 2023-092), will see FRDC working closely with a wide range of partners, including fisheries management, industry and Indigenous representative organisations and policy makers, to map an evidence-based future for Australia’s Indigenous, commercial, recreational and aquaculture fishers.
The project is being co-funded by the Australian Government with an investment of nearly half a million dollars. In a clear show of allegiance to the seafood sector, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon Murray Watt, said the project is a critical piece of work for seafood sectors.
“The Albanese Government is committed to back the future growth of the fisheries and aquaculture industries,” Minister Watt said, “which is why we have invested nearly half a million dollars towards delivering this project,”
Chief Executive Officer for Seafood Industry Australia, Veronica Papacosta, echoes Minister Watt’s words, standing by the projects transformative potential.
“We have proposed a ‘Futures of Seafood’ study as a critical piece of work – a watershed moment – for the seafood industry.” Veronica notes. “This project will paint a clearer picture of the impacts of emerging marine activities and climate change pressures on fishing and aquaculture. By mapping and modelling current impacts, we can help fishing and aquaculture succeed, through better planning for the future.”
Over an eighteen-month journey, the team will meticulously gather and analyse data, threading together insights and observations that will serve to support sector participation in the current ocean estate conversation and form the basis of a medium to long-term conversation about the future of the seafood sector.
“‘Futures of Seafood’ offers a contemporary and wholistic approach to profiling the fish caught and farmed by Indigenous, commercial, recreational and aquaculture sectors today, and what our seafood requirements could look like tomorrow,” FRDC’s General Manager of Research and Investment Crispian Ashby said.
“We are asking the difficult questions – what if we are at a tipping point? What is the future of our fisheries and is it hanging in the balance?”
In a commitment to collaboration and inclusivity, the ‘Futures of Seafood’ project will involve sector leaders, government representatives, and a wide range of stakeholders. As this study is reliant on both data and insights, information will be sought through a series of data gathering workshops, surveys, and interviews.
As this groundbreaking project continues to create steam, a communications and outreach committee will be established, comprising an ambassador network to help amplify and support the dissemination of findings to all stakeholders.
“We acknowledge this study is ambitious and will rely upon dozens of actors providing timely input and a strong governance regime to support delivery,” says Angela Williamson, who is the Director of Blue Policy and Planning at Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre.
“We also acknowledge the calls from Australian seafood stakeholders have never been in more uncertain territory than today,”
“Those cumulative changes in nature and climate, ocean access and new ocean entrants, policy and regulatory directions, as well as market and consumer trends are all impacting what seafood ends up on Australian dinner tables,”
FRDC Project 2023-092: Futures of Seafood. Wild. Aquaculture. Recreational. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.