Aquatic Animal Health & Biosecurity Subprogram

On occasion, a planned research and development outcome could be more successful if a number of related projects were managed by employing higher levels of coordination, integration and communication. The FRDC either on its own initiative or at the request of a stakeholder group, can establish a managed subprogram.

The Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram is responsible for guiding FRDC-funded research and development aimed at addressing priorities within the field of aquatic animal health and biosecurity, with a focus on infectious diseases of aquatic animals and excluding issues concerning invasive pests, food safety or toxicology.

The Subprogram adopts a special responsibility for national aquatic animal health and biosecurity-related research. The subprogram is managed by an expertise based steering and scientific committee, appointed by the FRDC that provides leadership and strategic roles to identify and prioritise R&D needed to address aquatic animal health and biosecurity needs to support ongoing operation and sustainable growth of the Australian seafood industry. These priorities align with objectives within AQUAPLAN and others identified through consultation with industry sectors.



AQUAPLAN is Australia’s National Strategic Plan for Aquatic Animal Health 2021–2026. The strategy outlines the objectives, projects, emergency preparedness and response arrangements for the management of aquatic animal health in Australia.

AQUAPLAN was developed and formally endorsed by the Commonwealth and State/Territory governments and the private sector. The development of AQUAPLAN and the implementation of its projects are overseen by the Ministerially appointed Fish Health Management Committee (FHMC). 



  • Tracey Bradley (Chair),
  • Joanne Slater
  • Ingo Ernst
  • Jeremy Carson
  • Steve Percival
  • Cecile Dang (Science Advisory Committee)
  • Ian Anderson (Science Advisory Committee)
  • Ellen Ariel (Science Advisory Committee)
  • Nick Moody (Science Advisory Committee)


Call for Applications

The FRDC invests through a flexible approach. Part of this approach allows the Research Advisory Committees (RACs), Industry Partnership Agreements (IPAs) and Subprograms to call for applications based on their priorities up to three times per year – see whether this IPA has put forward any priorities in the current call for applications.


AAHBS Contact

Nick Moody, Subprogram Leader – (


FRDC Management Contacts

Wayne Hutchinson – FRDC Portfolio Manager (M 0439 636 375; E

Carolyn Stewardson – FRDC Portfolio Manager (M 0418 867 944; E


Additional information

AAHBS Health Highlights Newsletter

The Aquatic Animal Health Subprogram produces a regular Health Highlights Newsletter. 


White Spot Disease Update

White Spot Disease (WSD) is an internationally notifiable disease of crustaceans caused by White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV). On 22nd November 2016 a WSSV incursion was first reported in Black Tiger Prawns (Penaeus monodon) grown on a prawn farm taking water from the Logan River, SE QLD.

In response a large bank of research has been undertaken to address the outbreak of White Spot Disease (WSD). This research can be found on the White Spot Disease page.


Aquatic Animal Diseases Identification Field Guide 5th Edition

The following resource has been developed to aid identification of Aquatic Diseases in Australia. This guide can be downloaded as PDF of Word from

The field guide is also available as a mobile app. Search and learn about aquatic animal diseases that affect finfish, molluscs, crustaceans and amphibians. The app can be freely downloaded through the App Store (Apple devices) or Google Play (Android devices).”


Related Websites


Related projects are listed below

Project Number
Aquatic Animal Health Training Scheme 2019-2022
Risk factors and management strategies associated with summer mortality in Australian abalone
Minor use permit for oxytetracycline in non-salmonid finfish
Risk analysis to identify and minimise biosecurity risks arising from recycling bivalve mollusc shell waste during shellfish reef restoration projects in Australia
Travel Bursary to attend the AquaVet program at Cornell University, in Massachusetts, USA
Benchmarking for health and productivity in aquaculture
Diagnostic detection of aquatic pathogens using real-time next generation sequencing
Aquatic Animal Health Technical Forum and Training workshops
Assessment of the Inflamark method as a sensitive and cost-effective measure of oxidative stress in cultured fish
Identification of differentially expressed innate immune genes in the New Zealand paua (Haliotis iris) and the Australian hybrid abalone (H. laevigata X H. rubra) upon immersion challenge with the abalone herpesvirus-1 (HaHV)