Published: 16 November 2023 Updated: 22 February 2024
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Circular Economy principles and practices are already embedded in some Australian fishing and aquaculture operations but there are opportunities to do more. Circular economy is a need and opportunity that crosses all four sectors – Indigenous, Commercial Wild Catch, Aquaculture, and Recreational – in all jurisdictions, at all levels of the supply chain, across sectors and international borders. 

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation’s (FRDC) Circularity in Fisheries and Aquaculture program (2021-133) is a three-year national program that uses practical and innovative measures to help transition the sector towards achieving the benefits of a more circular system. 

This national program encompasses five initiatives which aim to build capacity, quantify material flows, identify opportunities and barriers, measure impact, support the commercialisation of innovative ideas and establish a comprehensive community of practice. Foundational to the program is engagement with industry, community, government and all parts of the value chain to share this important journey. 

The project is being delivered by the Regional Circularity Co-operative Limited as part of the Bega Circular Valley initiative, in collaboration with KPMG, University of Wollongong and Charles Sturt University, supported by funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation on behalf of the Australian Governments

Towards a circular economy

National material flow & circular opportunity analysis 

Quantifying the nationwide material flows of the sector to identify opportunities and barriers to change and leveraging national and global insights to embrace greater circularity for economic and environmental impact. 

Circular Advantage – Circular Capacity Building 

Educating the wider region and industry on circularity practices, including the interventions to implement and identification of the resources required to support actions. Annually for the next three years, we will hold field-based workshops / Circular Advantage training, where participants will learn from entities implementing circular practices. 

Circular Measurement 

Support selected fisheries and aquaculture entities to measure circularity of their business operations. This assessment will enable participating entities to baseline circularity and drive operational improvement between assessment periods through Circular Transition Indicators framework. 

Circular Accelerator 

Innovators, partners and fishing and aquaculture businesses will be convened to identify and execute initiatives that will accelerate the adoption of circular economy. A Circularity Accelerator program will encourage creative circular economy problem-solving within fishing and aquaculture. Initiatives that will deliver the greatest benefit to industry and environment will be seed funded up to $20,000. 

Community of Practice 

This initiative aims to connect FRDC with the existing Bega Circular Valley community of practice. The CoP will encompass all learnings across the program into a comprehensive knowledge sharing and self-sustaining network. 

How can I get involved?

Circular Capacity Building Workshop - Circular Advantage 12-14th February 2024

As part of the Circularity in Fisheries and Aquaculture program this 2-day workshop will host representatives from the seafood sector including fisheries and aquaculture and supply chain businesses, suppliers as priority participants. Government, industry associations, research institutes, and others motivated to transition the sector towards a circular economy will also be welcomed based on capacity.

FRDC, KPMG and the Regional Circularity Cooperative (RCC) are seeking the involvement of individuals and organisations that are motivated to address challenges within the fisheries value chain and realise new circular opportunities. Collaborative efforts will be key in developing sector-wide solutions and driving innovation within the fisheries sector.

The objectives of this workshop are to:

  • Raise understanding of the value and opportunities of circular economy within the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
  • Develop skills and set foundations for circular strategies and designing for circular outcomes, understanding how to increase efficiency and turn your waste to value, learn about the frameworks to measure and communicate your impact and funding pathways from the private and public sector.
  • Develop circular economy roadmaps for your respective entity or in sectoral groups to drive environmental and commercial value.
  • Hear lessons learned on site visits with entities already implementing and scaling circular initiatives.

When: 3:00pm Monday 12th – 11:30am Wednesday 14th February 2024

Where: Merimbula, NSW

If you are interested in participating in this program, contact Natalie Manahan, Program Manager - Fisheries & Aquaculture, Regional Circularity Co-operative at

Circularity Accelerator Program

FRDC has partnered with the University of Wollongong and iAccelerate to deliver a tailored Circularity Cooperative program, providing you with a structured program for ideas to be tested and lessons to be learned and shared.  

The program invites individuals and related sectors to participate in a staged program where ideas are fostered and mentored by leading experts. The program will run from 2024 through to 2025 and is open to small- or large-scale fisheries and aquaculture entities, individuals, and related sectors. 

The program will support initiatives that address issues of particular to FRDC such as:  

  • Diverting shellfish and fish waste into scalable products 

  • Recycling plastics and bioplastics for reuse in the system  

  • Replacement and reuse of polystyrene in aquaculture 

  • Alternative low-impact refrigeration solutions  

  • Systems enhancements to reduce fuel and transportation  

  • An amazing idea that no-one has thought of before!

Selected businesses will receive up to $20,000 plus ongoing mentorship to further their initiative.

If you are interested in participating in this program, contact Natalie Manahan, Program Manager - Fisheries & Aquaculture, Regional Circularity Co-operative at

Further Information

Visit the official website:  

You can also contact the Program Manager, Natalie Manahan, at  

Useful Resources