Published: 21 June 2021 Updated: 20 September 2023
Table of contents


IRG logo

FRDC seeks to invest in R&D to help achieve the aspirations of Indigenous Peoples. The FRDC Indigenous Reference Group is an expertise-based committee of Indigenous people, with members from various areas of expertise and knowledge from across Australian fishing and aquaculture. 

The IRG plays a key role in leadership and strategy development and advises on allocation of subprogram funds to projects consistent with stakeholder priorities and relevant R&D plans. The IRG also oversees progress of projects under its direct management and provides technical advice to the FRDC on issues, applications and projects beyond those under its management. 

As well as directly funding research, development and extension, the IRG and FRDC link with organisations doing similar work, such as the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation, the CSIRO, the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and state and territory governments.   

The IRG was established in 2012 following workshops held with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with an interest in fishing and seafood to help identify key RD&E priorities. 

Research priorities

Key priority areas for the IRG are:



Primacy for Indigenous people

Indigenous people have certain recognised rights associated with and based on the prior and continuing occupation of country and water and the activities (e.g. fishing, gathering) associated with the use and management of these.

Acknowledgement of Indigenous cultural practices

Indigenous people have the right to maintain and develop cultural practices to address spiritual, cultural, social and economic needs associated with aquatic resources and landscapes.

Self-determination of Indigenous rights to use and manage cultural assets and resources

Indigenous people have the right to determine courses of action in relation to the use and management of aquatic biological resources.

Economic development opportunities arising from Indigenous peoples’ cultural assets and associated rights

Indigenous people have the right to engage in economic activity based on the use of traditional aquatic biological resources and/or the right to share in the benefits derived from aquatic biological resources.

Enhanced capacity building opportunities for Indigenous people

Indigenous people have the right to access capacity building activities to further their aspirations in the use and management of aquatic biological resources.


  • Bryan Denny
  • Chels Marshall
  • Francis Parriman
  • Matt Osborne
  • Michael Gilby
  • Shane Holland
  • Stan Lui
  • Stephan Schnierer
  • Terry Yumbulul
  • Traceylee Forester

IRG Contact

FRDC Management Contacts

Joshua Fielding – FRDC Senior Research Portfolio Manager
(M: 0417 324 182; E:

Background documents 

Related projects

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