Competitive Round Call for Expressions of Interest now open. Closes 27 September 2019


Human Dimensions Research Subprogram

The goal of the Human Dimensions Research (HDR) Subprogram is to deliver world-class research into the human dimensions of fisheries and aquaculture to support these sectors in achieving sustainability and prosperity. Human dimensions research includes social sciences and economics, and examines social, economic and cultural factors and the people, markets, institutions and behaviours these affect. 

The HDR Subprogram leads, collaborates and partners to achieve its five RD&E goals and priorities in its 2017-2020 RD&E Plan and HDR RDE Goals.

Image of HRDs RDE goal priorities 2017-2020

Research projects funded by the HDR Subprogram – active and completed - are provided under the 5 RDE goals below.

1. Delivering benefits - Ensuring social, cultural and economic benefits from fisheries and aquaculture through benefit sharing, resource allocation and other management activities and models.

Projects include:

  • Understanding benefits and costs of changing conditions and management of fisheries and aquaculture – various projects in South Australia (2017-104), Tasmania (2018-075), and Western Australia (2016-034; 2016-113)
  • Harvest strategy design that includes ecological, economic and social objectives (2015-013). This project is developing and testing a tool to guide fisheries managers and key stakeholders through the design of a harvest strategy framework that takes a triple bottom line approach. 
  • Current status of integrated coastal and marine management in Australia, workshop report (2017-214)
  • Selecting social objectives for fisheries management (2010-040). This report also produced a guide to "Managing the social dimension of fishing" (see Appendix 17 and 18 of the final report) with its own introductory guide

2. Changing behaviours - Understanding behaviour of fishers/farmers, institutions and organisations in areas of compliance, adaptation, adoption of new practices and technologies, and innovation.

Projects include:

  • Understanding barriers to uptake of best practice community engagement by industry (2017-133). This project identified that seafood industry leaders lacked motivation to change current industry engagement practices, clear goals for what they aimed to achieve, and any feedback based on evaluation of whether their current engagement practices were effective. Areas for further action included improved extension of engagement tools and evaluation of current and potential engagement activities.

3. Working with markets- Understanding how seafood product and   non-product markets (e.g. labour markets, other inputs, markets for fishing rights) and market-based mechanisms operate and how they support fisheries and aquaculture prosperity and sustainability.

Projects include:

  • Investigating price elasticity for the Commonwealth South East Fishery (2018-017). This project is investigating the sensitivity of fish prices in the South East Fishery to changes in supply  and the dynamics of price in these  markets. It aims to demonstrate how fishing firms and managers can use this information to predict the impacts of proposed changes in permitted catch levels.
  • Reviewing ITQ markets for Australian fisheries and their past performance (2017-159). This project is a retrospective review of the performance of Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) systems in Australian fisheries management, and the extent to which they have delivered intended benefits and resulted in any unintended costs. Its findings will help guide future research by highlighting how ITQs can be introduced and managed more effectively in the future.

4. Building community trustEffective engagement that builds community trust and socially-supported fisheries and aquaculture.

Projects include:

  • Identifying what determine levels of community support for fisheries and aquaculture (2017-158)
  • Our Pledge (2017-242) is a project being undertaken by Seafood Industry Australia’s to establish industry response to community values and expectations of industry behaviours and performance.
  • Designing engagement strategies for social acceptance, South East Queensland commercial fishing industry (2017-012)

See the Building Community Trust page for more resources.

5. Building human dimensions research capability- Enhancing capability through data platforms and standards, training, and tools to help identify HDR needs.

Completed projects include:

  • Building economic capability to improve the management of marine resources in Australia (2008-306). This project developed a Fisheries Economics Graduate Research Training program, a Fisheries Economics Professional Training program, and the Australian Fisheries Economics Network to build capabilities.
  • Social Science Research Report for our Natural Resources. This report outlines the ways social sciences can be used to help in managing and using our natural resources, including fisheries and aquaculture.
  • Social Sciences Research Audit (FRDC Report 2009/317). This report details the range of social sciences RD&E undertaken into fisheries and aquaculture in Australia from 1995 to 2010.

Program Leaders

Dr Emily Ogier leads the HDR Subprogram. Emily is a marine social science researcher with the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (UTAS) and the Centre for Marine Socioecology in Hobart. Emily can be contacted as follows: 0438 697 081 (work) or via email at

Dr Sarah Jennings coordinates the Economics research activities of the HDR Subprogram. Sarah can be contacted by email at

Steering Committee

The HDR Steering Committee provides expert advice for the review of social science and economics research project applications, and acts as a reference group for RACs, IPAs and other FRDC subprograms, industry associations and management agencies. Members are:

Dr Nicki Mazur
Dr Sean Pascoe (CSIRO/QUT)
Dr Nyree Stenekes (ABARES)
Bryan McDonald (Dept Primary and Fisheries, NT)
Alex Ogg (WAFIC)
Dr Julian Morison (BDO Econsearch)

Contact and Program Manager

Christopher Izzo   M  0419852723

Project Number
Recreational fishing and human wellbeing: insights from existing data and development of best practice approaches to future measurement
Non-market values to inform decision-making and reporting in fisheries and aquaculture – an audit and gap analysis
Our pledge: Australian seafood industry response to community values and expectations
Comparative evaluation of Integrated Coastal Marine Management in Australia - Workshop
National fisheries and aquaculture industry social and economic contributions study: Phase 1
Retrospective assessment of ITQs to inform research needs and to improve their future design and performance
Determinates of socially-supported wild-catch and aquaculture fisheries in Australia
Social Matters Workshop
The right conversations - Identifying optimal stakeholder engagement and evaluation practices for fisheries
Media messages about sustainable seafood: how do media influencers affect consumer attitudes?