Climate change

Australia’s oceans generate considerable economic wealth through fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, oil and natural gas, and transport. Marine ecosystems provide irreplaceable services including oxygen production, nutrient recycling and climate regulation.

Climate change is already impacting on estuarine and marine fisheries and biodiversity with extreme climate variability events well documented.

Adaptation and flexibility are key – Australia’s policy and management frameworks are well placed to respond because they are already adaptive and flexible.

Climate change poses both challenges and opportunities for Australia’s wild fisheries and aquaculture sectors. The FRDC’s strategic imperatives are to enhance each sector’s adaptive capacity, to foster mitigation actions such as wetland repair and position our industries and management arrangements to take advantage of the impacts of climate change. 

The FRDC has a role at the national level to help co-ordinate fisheries climate change RD&E with Australian, State and Territory Government agencies, industry, and stakeholders. This builds on the vast bank of research undertaken over the past decade looking at climate variability and its impact on the fishing industry.

Read FRDC's Senate Inquiry submission about Climate Change here.


FRDC’s Research into Climate Change

Previously, the FRDC coordinated the Climate Adaptation Program that included a series of research and development partnerships and a total RD&E investment of over $9M from 2010 to 2014. 

This was led by FRDC with partnerships going across Australian and State Governments, CSIRO and universities as the lead co-investors. These funded RD&E activities span a range of species groups, ecosystems and regions in Australia.

Currently, FRDC’s investment into climate change research is informed by the various needs of our stakeholders through the FRDC’s partner mechanisms – jurisdictional and industry sector bodies.

RD&E invested through these initiatives seeks to develop collaborative partnerships and leverage existing knowledge in this area.

It is also 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.

A list of projects considering the impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture can be found below.

Project Number
Cultivation trials of the red seaweed Asparagopsis armata and A. taxiformis
Implementation of dynamic reference points and harvest strategies to account for environmentally-driven changes in productivity in Australian fisheries
Seaweed production as a nutrient offset for Moreton Bay
Estimating the biomass of fish stocks using novel and efficient genetic techniques
Understanding the relationship between commercial prawn species population dynamics, fishing patterns and climate in the Shark Bay World Heritage area in Western Australia
Can DNA from routine plankton surveys be used to measure fish spawning areas and monitor changes in pelagic ecosystems?
Modelling environmental changes and effects on wild-caught species in Queensland
Revisiting biological parameters and information used in the assessment of Commonwealth fisheries: a reality check and work plan for future proofing
Establishing an industry recovery strategy for the Area 3 zone of the Western Australian Abalone Managed Fishery
Forecasting spatial distribution of Southern Bluefin Tuna habitat in the Great Australian Bight – updating and improving habitat and forecast models