Back to FISH COVID19 Special Issue 2
PUBLISHED 1 Jul 2020

Queen’s Birthday Honours

Former FRDC chair and long-time Queensland Senator Ron Boswell has received a Queen’s Birthday Honour, becoming an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the general division. The honour recognises the former senator’s distinguished service to the Parliament of Australia, to the people of Queensland, and to fisheries research and development. He served in the Senate, where he represented the National Party for 31 years, and also served as the FRDC’s chair for three years.

Also awarded an AO in the general division is Victorian Allan McCallum, for distinguished service to primary industry, particularly to grain, seafood and medicinal plant production, and
to professional organisations. He has been chairman of the Tassal Group Ltd since 2005 and has had longstanding involvement in board and leadership roles.

Former FRDC director Heather Brayford has been awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service to legislative reform and policy development in Western Australia. She has worked in the public sector for more than 30 years and is currently WA’s Deputy Director General at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Geoff Allan has been awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service to New South Wales, and to aquaculture science. He is currently Deputy Director General of Fisheries in NSW, following a long career in fisheries and aquaculture research and policy. His scientific work in aquaculture nutrition is world-renowned and estimated to have reduced the cost of production in the Australian industry by approximately 10 per cent a year. He also managed an FRDC subprogram on aquaculture for a decade.

Comment on aquatic plant names

There is a growing interest in aquatic plants, including seaweeds, as the basis for new aquaculture. With an increasingly diverse range of uses for these plants and their chemical constituents, it’s a timely move to provide a guide to the naming of species in Australian markets. A draft of the Australian Standard for Aquatic Plant Names has been developed and is open for public comment until 15 August 2020.

More information

Australian seafood, the best in the world

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) has launched the ‘Eat Seafood, Australia!’ campaign and Fish Finder directory encouraging consumers to support the local seafood sector. The national marketing campaign is being supported with $4 million in funding from the Federal Government, announced 22 June 2020.

The Fish Finder directory has been designed to help consumers find and purchase fresh or cooked Australian seafood online or direct from retailers, and is available at SIA’s website.

SIA acting CEO Veronica Papacosta says many commercial fishers and fishmongers have diversified their businesses to offer delivery or easy collection methods to help get Australian seafood into homes.

“The directory is a simple way for the community to support fishers without even leaving their couch,” she says.

The campaign also encourages people to share seafood meal posts on social media, with the hashtag #EatSeafoodAustralia.

More information

Fish stocks assessed

A new edition of the Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) reports is in the works, with 28 new species to be added to the 2020 release. This is expected to be published in December via the SAFS website and SAFS smartphone app. It will be the fifth edition of the reports, which were launched in 2012, and increases the total species included from the original 49 to 150.

  • Species added this year include:
  • Australian Bonito Sarda australis
  • Barred Javelin Pomadasys kaakan
  • Blue Morwong Nemadactylus valenciennesi
  • Bronze Whaler Carcharhinus brachyurus
  • Brownstripe Snapper Lutjanus vitta
  • Burrowing Blackfish (Sea Cucumber) Actinopyga spinea
  • Champagne Crab Hypothalassia acerba
  • Cobia Rachycentron canadum
  • Crystal Crab Chaceon albus
  • Eastern Shovelnose Ray Aptychotrema rostrata
  • Golden Perch Macquaria ambigua
  • Greenback Flounder Rhombosolea tapirina
  • Hammer Octopus Octopus australis
  • Longfin Eel Anguilla reinhardtii
  • Longspined Sea Urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii
  • Ocean Sand Crab Ovalipes australiensis
  • Redspot King Prawn Melicertus longistylus
  • Ruby Snapper Etelis carbunculus
  • Sea Sweep Scorpis aequipinnis
  • Shortspined Sea Urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma
  • Southern Shortfin Eel Anguilla australis
  • Striped Trumpeter Latris lineata
  • Stripey Snapper Lutjanus carponotatus
  • Swallowtail Centroberyx lineatus
  • Teraglin Atractoscion aequidens
  • Trumpeter Whiting Sillago maculata
  • Western Blue Groper Achoerodus gouldii
  • Western Rock Octopus Octopus sp. cf tetricus

Recreational fishers join habitat initiative

An $8 million initiative to improve coastal and estuarine fishing experiences will provide new opportunities for recreational fishers to become involved in efforts to preserve and improve
fish habitats.

The new national Fisheries Habitat Restoration (FHR) Program aims to “support more sustainable and productive fisheries through the improvement of health and functioning of fish habitats while working with local recreational fishing groups”.

Recreational fishers have long recognised the need to restore fish habitats. More than half of all Australians live within seven kilometres of the coast, with urbanisation pressure and development activities increasingly contributing to habitat degradation.

However, when coastal and estuarine habitats are healthy, they provide critical habitat and nursery grounds for a huge array of fish, mollusc and shellfish species.

The FHR Program is administered by the fisheries branch of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Applications for projects are being reviewed, with the projects to be completed by June 2023.

This initiative comes at a time when increased efforts to support fish habitats are much needed, following extensive drought and bushfires across large parts of Australia.  F
For more information about projects approved, visit the Regional Land Partnerships (RLP) website:

Movers and . . .

Deputy chair of FRDC Colin Buxton has been named an Emeritus Professor in recognition of his significant contributions to the University of Tasmania, including leadership of Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute (TAFI) and at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS). This is a great achievement and well deserved.

John Barry, senior communications advisor at Australian Eggs, has taken a new job at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Adam Main, general manager of Primary Industries and Regions SA Aquaculture, Policy and Environment has joined CH4 South Australia, a global initiative aimed at cutting methane emissions
from livestock agriculture using seaweed byproduct.

Lyn Fragar AO has been appointed as the new independent chair of the Rural Safety and Health Alliance (RSHA). She follows in the footsteps of previous chair, Patrick Murphy.

Martina Doblin has been appointed as CEO and director of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS), with inaugural CEO Peter Steinberg stepping down after 11 years in the role.

Tony Worby is the new CEO for the Minderoo Flourishing Oceans Program, having left his position as director of Oceans and Atmosphere at CSIRO. Andreas Schiller is currently acting in the role at CSIRO.

International food and agriculture executive Anthony Williams has been announced as the new managing director of the Grains Research and Development Corporation. He starts in the role in August, taking over from Steve Jeffries, who is retiring.

Blue Economy CRC scopes research needs

The Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (BECRC) has launched 17 short-term industry-focused scoping projects that will guide the CRC’s research program.
The new projects are spread across the five BECRC program areas, involving collaboration with 40 participant organisations across the world, running until the end of 2020.
The scoping projects include research in the following areas:

  • key challenges for offshore high-energy salmon aquaculture production;
  • integrated offshore aquaculture and renewable energy infrastructure designs;
  • types of marine energy conversion devices suited to offshore conditions that support energy export (such as hydrogen) and storage, as well as aquaculture applications;
  • robust site selection procedures, and environmental and operational monitoring strategies including the application of remote-monitoring technologies;
  • decision support tools for identifying trade-offs and synergies among emerging blue industries and human activities; and
  • ethical, policy and regulatory frameworks for Australia’s emerging blue economy and systems for their integration.

BECRC chief executive officer John Whittington says the scoping projects will help the CRC understand existing technologies, solutions, knowledge and trends, and identify the major challenges and opportunities in each research area.

The total value of the scoping projects is more than $2.3 million, with $858,124 of funding direct from the BECRC, and $1,445,317 of in-kind commitments from partners. 

A full list of approved projects is at

Whole fish chef wins book award

Sydney chef Josh Niland has won the James Beard Book of the Year Award for The Whole Fish Cookbook, which was published last year by Hardie Grant.

He is the first Australian to win the award from the US-based James Beard Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation that focuses on fostering chefs and other food leaders to share diverse and sustainable food cultures. The foundation has been operating for more than 30 years.

Josh Niland was also the winner of the Restaurant and Professional Book Award category, which put him in the running for the Book of the Year. He runs the restaurant St Peter and the retail outlet the Fish Butchery in Paddington, Sydney, with a focus on using every part of the fish.