Published: 16 November 2023 Updated: 11 June 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?

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