Published: 1 July 2021 Updated: 5 April 2024
Table of contents

Climate change is impacting estuarine and marine fisheries, and biodiversity and extreme climate variability events have been well documented.

Climate change is a significant concern for fishers and the communities that depend on fisheries for their livelihoods, as Australia’s oceans generate considerable economic wealth through fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, oil and natural gas, and transport. Marine ecosystems also provide irreplaceable services including oxygen production, nutrient recycling and climate regulation.

As climate change poses both challenges and opportunities for Australia’s wild fisheries and aquaculture sectors, FRDC’s strategic imperatives are focused on enhancing adaptive capacity to foster mitigation actions, such as wetland repair, and to position our industries to take advantage of the impacts of climate change.

At a national level, FRDC helps co-ordinate fisheries climate change R&D with government agencies, industry and stakeholders. This work builds on the vast bank of research undertaken over the past decade looking at climate variability and its impact on the fishing industry.

You can read FRDC's Senate Inquiry submission about climate change here.

FRDC’s research into climate change

FRDC’s research into climate change spans over a decade. From 2010 to 2014, FRDC coordinated the Climate Adaptation Program which included a series of research and development partnerships and a total RD&E investment of over $9 million. The program spanned a range of species groups, ecosystems and regions in Australia.

Informed by our past investment and outcomes, and the various needs of our stakeholders, FRDC’s current investment into climate change research seeks to maintain and develop collaborative partnerships and leverage existing knowledge. Such investments align with the FRDC’s R&D Plan 2020-25.

It is important to acknowledge that there are a wide range of investors into climate change RD&E, including Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, CSIRO, the Australian Research Council, universities and the private sector.

Climate change impacts on fishing and aquaculture

There is evidence of a changing climate in Australia, with symptoms including increasing intensity, frequency and/or duration of extreme climate events (ECE), including flood, drought, heatwave and bushfires.

Read more about this paper... 

Climate Change Briefings

Alistair Hobday (CSIRO) and Claire Spillman (Bureau Of Meteorology) have presented five national fisheries climate outlook briefings over the 2023/24 summer and autumn season. These briefings provide an opportunity for seafood businesses and managers to prepare and adapt for marine warming impacts. 

Fisheries Climate Briefing #1 July-Sept 2023 

Fisheries Climate Briefing #2 Sept-Nov 2023 


Fisheries Climate Briefing #3 December 2023 - February 2024

Fisheries Climate Briefing #4 February - April 2024

Fisheries Climate Briefing #5 - Wrap-up

Northern Australia Marine Climate Briefing December 2023

Key resources

Related projects