Given the state of development of the Australian prawn fisheries, a coordinated plan across the fisheries can better facilitate a national industry development strategy, while not detracting from responsibility for, or research supporting, stock sustainability issues.
A lack of integration of R&D and other work across stakeholders, States, and Australia exists. This is in part because the industry does not have a strategy with clearly defined R&D needs and priorities to guide investment and activity.
Two distinct needs are involved in any consideration of better national co-ordination for the southern rock lobster sector:
1.The strategic issues of prioritization, funding and the linkages to (and support for) both industry development plans and Government objectives of industry development.
The goals of industry development are common to both Government and industry. There are certainly issues to be addressed in the type of research and development that is needed to ensure growth opportunities are captured, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of such activities and that adequate funding is secured.
The next essential step is the development of a plan that supports and guides development. This is clearly an industry responsibility with Government facilitating and operating within the management boundaries that have been set to ensure resource sustainability.
2.The operational issues of facilitating effective communication and coordination at all levels (industry/researchers, among researchers, among industry, FRDC/researchers etc).
There are clear benefits (efficiencies, cost savings, potential synergies and new economic activity) to be gained in improving the communication and co-ordination in relation to prawn industry development. These opportunities for enhanced communication and co-ordination exist on a number of levels:
a. among researchers
b. between researchers and other related disciplines
c between industry and researchers and government managers
d. between the existing lobster subprograms and researchers and industry.
e. between industry bodies and
f. Seafood Services Australia.
These benefits are in offer both within States and across the States. The benefits will not be captured without a strategic and coordinated approach to developing the species. An industry Strategic Plan offers the logical mechanism to support the industry as it increasingly turns its endeavours to development beyond sustainability.