1. RESEARCH RELEVANCE AND ACCEPTANCE
The purpose of the RLEAS is to provide technology for use in Australian rock lobster enhancement and aquaculture systems so they can be internationally competitive while operating in harmony with the wild fisheries. Since its inception, the RLEAS has been coordinated by Dr Robert van Barneveld. The Subprogram has evolved from being actively opposed by the wild fishing sector in many states, to being an integral part in the future development of the rock lobster sector. A degree of harmony has been established between the wild fishery and the aquaculture sector, and a high degree of research coordination has been established between states and internationally with researchers in New Zealand and Japan. None of this would have been possible without an independent Subprogram Leader and a highly responsive Steering Committee that is strongly represented by industry members from across Australia.
2. RESEARCH EFFICIENCY AND OUTPUT
The presence of a coordination component within the RLEAS has resulted in savings in the operation of new and existing projects far exceeding $500,000 and it is likely that this trend will exist in the future. To this end, the RLEAS Steering Committee will continue to support a coordination project for the operation of the RLEAS. In addition, since 1998 the RLEAS has delivered outcomes from 4 core projects with outcomes pending from another four projects in June, 2000. In April 2000, the FRDC funded an additional 5 projects within the Subprogram that will run concurrently until June, 2003. It is unlikely that this level of highly focussed research and productivity would have been possible without a coordinated subprogram.
In the past, the establishment of subprograms has resulted in considerable savings in travel and operating expenditure by centralising expenditure for workshops, publications and extension within a coordination project. The new projects approved within the RLEAS in April, 2000 do not contain any travel or operating budgets for attendance at subprogram workshops, attendance of the Principal Investigators at Steering Committee meetings, or extension of research results. Hence, there is a need to ensure these projects have an ongoing capacity to maintain a degree of integration and to deliver results to end-users.