Table of contents

Developing our people

The need to develop capability and capacity across all sectors of aquaculture and commercial, Indigenous and recreational fishing has been identified as a key challenge by FRDC stakeholders.

Capability refers to knowledge, skills, competencies, and experience – they can be the difference between simply knowing a fact or a skill and being able to apply it. Capacity describes what’s required “to get things done”. It includes the quantity of human capital - the number of people with capabilities; in addition to factors such as time constraints, budget, resources, structures, assets, equipment, and networks. Over the next 10 years, 41% of jobs in agriculture, forestry and fisheries will be transformed by technology. One in three new jobs created in these industries will be tech- related, making digital and data literacy essential. People who can lead, solve problems, think differently and adapt are critical to the success of fishing and aquaculture.

Building the capability and capacity of people involved in aquaculture and fishing is one of the five enabling strategies included in FRDC’s 2020-25 R&D Plan. Fishing and aquaculture groups and businesses were further consulted to help develop a plan to achieve this through investments and partnerships and focussing on the triggers that will generate the most benefit through to 2025 and beyond. 

Attract and retain
great people
Connect and collaborate
to drive meaningful
Grow and nurture
diverse people to navigate uncertainty and thrive
Investing in people to
strengthen capability and capacity, showcasing career
and development pathways to enable and empower our
future workforce
Establishing shared
principles, values and trust through new ways of working
to enable culture change
and adoption
Developing confidence, resilience and courage to
solve problems, manage uncertainty, respect and
support each other

The capability and capacity building plan identifies three objectives and associated initiatives. These are:  

Informed by stakeholder input, FRDC investments will focus on the building the capability and capacity required for success in a changing world. These are likely to include: 

  • Leading and managing change (such as implementing best practice in workplace safety and culture, building trust, technology adoption, environmental stewardship and animal welfare, developing confidence and resilience) 
  • Conflict resolution (for example, expertise to engage with opposing sides on resource access and allocation issues) 
  • Effective communication (such as the ability to clearly convey the integrity and transparency of supply chains, refine sector research and management needs, and telling the stories of fishing and aquaculture) 
  • Biosecurity (capacity to take a proactive role in detecting, and managing biosecurity risks as part of day-to-day activities) 
  • Digital and technological proficiency (including the ability to use decision-support tools to develop capability, increase profits, reduce costs and enhance environmental outcomes) 
  • Environmental stewardship (such as the ability to identify, develop and adopt practices and technologies that sustain and enhance stocks and ecosystems. 

The capability and capacity building plan builds on existing FRDC investments, including the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program, and bursaries and scholarships specific to fishing and aquaculture. The plan will identify current and future capability, capacity and workforce needs through engagement with stakeholders. It will encourage students, educators and parents to explore careers in fishing and aquaculture and showcase science and research pathways, aiming to attract people with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) capabilities into fishing and aquaculture. For example, maths students could participate in stock assessments through work integrated learning and placements with university partners.

Finding resources and information will be made easier through the development of an online fishing and aquaculture people hub. The program will also provide learning opportunities to suit people in the industry, utilising a combination of delivery modes, including self-directed, peer to peer, hybrid, and face to face and include hands-on activities for fishing and aquaculture groups to test and develop ideas.

Commencing in July 2022, a steering committee will provide expertise to guide the capability and capacity building plan. 

For more information, please contact Sally Roberts, Capability, Capacity and Culture Change Manager on Ph: 0407 186 433 or