Back to FISH Vol 27 3
PUBLISHED 1 Sep 2019

Australia is preparing to host one of the largest gatherings of fisheries stakeholders to discuss the latest advances in fisheries worldwide, with a focus on sustainability and collaboration

By Peter Horvat


Photo of cuttlefish at Stony Point, SA


More than 1500 stakeholders, including researchers and representatives from key industry sectors and marine science agencies, will come together for the 8th World Fisheries Congress (WFC2020) to be held in Adelaide from 11 to 15 October next year.

The WFC2020 will provide an opportunity to connect and collaborate with fisheries experts from across the world, offering a platform to discuss key developments and concerns facing the fishing industry across the globe. It is held every four years and will be one of the largest displays of fisheries science to be held in Australia.

Photo of people walking on pier at Henley Beach, SA


Photo of Adelaide Convention Centre

Austral Fisheries is a major sponsor for the event and CEO David Carter says the congress will provide an important meeting place and forum to learn about the global challenges facing the industry, as well as opportunities for growth, innovation and change.

The theme for WFC2020 is ‘Sharing our oceans and rivers – a vision for the world’s fisheries’, and it encompasses the world’s commercial, recreational and Indigenous fisheries, with a focus on four key areas:

  • sustainable fisheries (assessment, regulation, enforcement);
  • fish and aquatic ecosystems (biodiversity, conservation, ecosystem function);
  • fisheries and society (contributions to sustainable development); and
  • the future of fish and fisheries (innovations in fisheries).

The aim of the event is to foster cooperation and engagement across all sectors. It will deliver a dynamic and contemporary program that will test current thinking about how best to enhance global fisheries and address the challenges of sustainability and maintaining prosperous fishing communities.

Presentations will provide insight on developments needed over the coming decades to ensure the world’s oceans, estuaries, lakes and rivers are managed sustainably for the benefit of current and future generations.

Registrations open in February 2020, with early bird registrations closing June 2020. Student registrations will also be available. 

To keep abreast of key dates and announcements visit World Fisheries Congress.


Get involved

Photo of people at a bar

The World Fisheries Congress in 2020 (WFC2020) will bring together a large and diverse international audience, representing the many industries and scientific disciplines that work in marine or aquatic environments.

Congress organisers are calling for abstracts and trade stands to bring to this audience. Attendees from around the globe will include fisheries scientists and managers; commercial, recreational and Indigenous fishers; students and educators; and other interested stakeholders.


Call for abstracts

Take the opportunity to be part of the WFC2020 by submitting an abstract. With innovative sessions, symposia and workshops led by industry, researchers and management, as well as student-led sessions, all are encouraged to submit.

“It would be great to see students and early career researchers well represented at the WFC2020, bringing a fresh perspective to discussions, providing an opportunity to develop networks and promoting knowledge transfer to the next generation of leaders,” says Gavin Begg, Chair, World Fisheries Congress 2020.

The call for abstracts will open in October 2019.

More information can be found at World Fisheries Congress Program Overview.


Trade exhibition

The WFC2020 will feature one of the largest fisheries trade exhibitions in Australia, showcasing businesses on the world fisheries stage.

It also provides an opportunity for sponsors to deliver their messages directly to stakeholders and demonstrate their support for aquatic research and industries.

To be part of the WFC2020 as a sponsor or exhibitor, please email Sheila Woodhart.


Fishy film festival for kids

From fish and chips to film festivals, new initiatives offer opportunities to engage with more people on the issue of how best to share and conserve our marine and freshwater resources

By Annabel Boyer

In the digital age, competition for audiences’ attention is fierce and finding ways to engage time-poor, information-rich audiences with complex subjects is a challenge science communicators regularly grapple with.

For this reason science organisations such as the FRDC are always on the lookout for novel ways to engage audiences in the issues they deal with and the research they fund.

The national fish and chips competition, run by the FRDC for the last three years, is an example of one such initiative.

The FRDC has used the fish and chips competition as a vehicle to deliver information about fisheries sustainability and research to those engaging with the competition, be they lovers or makers of fish and chips.

By harnessing participants’ competitive spirit, creative competitions can also be a great means of connecting with and educating participants and audiences about particular issues.


Film inspiration

Science-based organisations are similarly engaging people, using events such as film festivals. This year Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre, is running a competition for films that showcase science in Australian Indigenous languages, to celebrate the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Since 2016 the Australian Society for Fish Biology has run successful video competitions for students and early career researchers to showcase their work using film and animation.

In the UK, Seafish ran a project called Captain Catch’s Silent Film Festival in 2016.

It sent professional film crews to capture the creativity and enthusiasm of five primary school classes from around the UK to highlight topics such as safety at sea, seafood sustainability and the health benefits of eating fish. The result was an incredible learning opportunity for the students involved both in filmmaking and in the subject matter of the films. The Captain Catch’s Silent Film Festival playlist can be viewed on YouTube.

Inspired by these ventures, the FRDC is planning a short film festival in conjunction with the World Fisheries Congress (WFC2020) to be held in Adelaide in October 2020. It will provide a unique opportunity to focus a global conversation on fisheries and the role they play in the lives of millions of people.

The competition will encourage schools from around the globe to develop and submit a short film of one to two minutes, which engages with the WFC2020 theme of ‘Sharing our oceans and rivers – a vision for the world’s fisheries’.

While the finer details of the competition are still being developed, the films will allow students to engage with the congress’s fisheries-related themes (see page 22) and to illustrate those themes in their own communities. The winning entries will be screened at the WFC2020.

The FRDC will work with partners in Australia and overseas to develop the film festival concept, the judging framework and support materials such as how-to guides. It will also promote the film festival, and organisers are keen to hear from potential sponsors, contributors or anyone who would like to be involved.