1. RESEARCH RELEVANCE AND ACCEPTANCE
The RLEAS is recognised as the focal point for rock lobster enhancement and aquaculture research. The Australian Southern Rock Lobster Industry has identified rock lobster culture and grow-out as a high priority and their strategic plan has identified the RLEAS as the basis for on-going development in this area through strategic alliances. Tropical rock lobsters are seen as holding the greatest short term potential as an aquaculture species. MG Kailis commenced independent research with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries into propagation and grow-out of P.ornatus, but have now invested in collaborative research within the RLEAS having recognised the scope of the task and the need for a coordinated approach. The potential value of rock lobster aquaculture and the RLEAS is evidenced by the fact that the projects operating within the Subprogram have attracted $4.5 million in cash contributions between 1998 and 2006. There is a need to maintain this focal point for rock lobster enhancement and aquaculture research to ensure the science remains relevant, to attract additional investment, to coordinate research nationally and where appropriate, internationally, and to ensure all opportunities are being captured.
2. RESEARCH EFFICIENCY AND OUTPUT
To date, the RLEAS has managed a portfolio of 19 projects representing a total investment from FRDC and stakeholders of nearly $17 million between 1998 and 2006. Outcomes from 12 of these projects have been delivered to date. Not only have the activities of the RLEAS and its Steering Committee ensured that this research remains highly focused, but it has fostered collaboration that would have been unlikely to eventuate in the absence of the subprogram. In addition, the strategic management provided by the RLEAS and the Subprogram Leader have ensured savings in project costs that far exceed the cost of running the coordination component of the subprogram. The coordination component of the RLEAS represents only 3.5% of the total investment in the subprogram, with travel costs for researchers and stakeholders managed through the coordination projects representing more than half of this cost. It is essential to maintain an independent Subprogram Leader to coordinate a national project of this nature, and as projects representing more than $8 million are still active within the RLEAS, on-going management is required to ensure relevant outcomes are delivered to industry.