Published: 18 June 2024 Updated: 26 June 2024
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DATE 26 Jun 2024
FEEDBACK/STORY SUGGESTIONS Dempsey Ward Communication Coordinator +61 2 6122 2134

FRDC welcomes Dr Elizabeth (Beth) Woods OAM who has been appointed FRDC Chair by The Hon Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.   

Dr Woods has made an immediate impact, attending her first FRDC Board meeting in Launceston the week following her appointment. Dr Woods used this opportunity to build strong relationships with Directors, staff and a range of Tasmanian stakeholders, including site visits to Tasmanian salmon farm Petuna, aquaculture feed producer BioMar Australia as well as seeing firsthand the oxygenation trial research being undertaken in Macquarie Harbour on the barge ‘Wombat’. 

Dr Woods said she felt privileged to have been appointed as FRDC Chair and was impressed by the scale of fishing and aquaculture in Tasmania. “It was immediately apparent how science has solved some complex fisheries and aquaculture challenges and created opportunities throughout the entire supply chain.  

“Salmon production in Australia has been underpinned by decades of quality R&D. From the development of high quality, nutritionally balanced, speciality feed like I saw being produced at BioMar, to the extensive work undertaken to produce top quality, healthy fish in the pens at Petuna, it was interesting to see and hear how FRDC investment has solved some complex scientific challenges. 

“We also peeked underwater using cameras that utilised some impressive AI to ensure there were optimum feed ratios." Beth says.

FRDC Managing Director Dr Patrick Hone welcomed the appointment of Dr Woods.  

“Dr Woods brings a wealth of experience in agricultural research and development to FRDC's mix. Her exceptional track record in governance, experience in leading Government agencies and great scientific mind are brilliant additions to FRDC and complement the skills of our Directors. 

“It is a really interesting time at FRDC as we finalise priorities identified in our Research Development and Extension Plan for 2020-2025 and work towards developing and implementing a new plan to be released in 2025.” 

Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, emphasised the importance of Dr. Woods’ appointment at this pivotal time for FRDC.  

"The fisheries sector is a vital part of Australian food production," Minister Watt stated. 

"Fisheries management and policy are heavily science-based, and Australia has some of the best-managed fisheries in the world.  

Minister Watt expressed his confidence in Dr. Woods' leadership, stating, "I have every confidence that Dr. Woods will provide the strong leadership needed to ensure the work of FRDC continues to directly benefit rural research and development in the fishing and aquaculture sectors." 

The appointment of Dr. Beth Woods marks an exciting new chapter for FRDC, promising continued excellence and innovation in fisheries research and development.  

Dr Woods three-year term began on 4 June 2024, with her presiding over her first Board Meeting in mid-June 2024. 

Dr Beth Woods Biography

Dr Woods has served on numerous Boards and Committees throughout her illustrious career and is currently Chair of the Australian Institute of Marine Science Council and an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Commissioner. 

Dr. Woods holds a Doctorate in Agricultural Economics and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Sciences by the University of Queensland, recognising her significant contributions to agriculture and related research.