The ASFB Annual Conference and workshop provides an opportunity for scientists, managers, industry and communities from the various jurisdictions around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, to come together and discuss the most recent developments in fish and fisheries science. The workshop specifically enables a topic of national significance to be discussed in an open forum in the presence of acknowledged international experts.
Recently we have witnessed a rapid expansion of methodologies and applications in our discipline that enable us to investigate the environment in new ways. There is thus an opportunity through the ASFB workshop to showcase the application of new techniques and technologies across a range of disciplines. Examples include smart tags, acoustic tracking, hydro-acoustics, remote sensing, habitat classification, underwater visual systems, electronic data capture, genetic and microchemistry applications.
Conferences and workshops such as this are a key component of the skill development of people in the sector, particularly offering students and young scientists the opportunity to obtain new ideas in a relaxed and informal setting.
The FRDC provided funding to support the organisation and hosting of the 2006 Australian Society for Fish Biology (ASFB) conference and workshop on cutting-edge technologies in fish and fisheries science. This funding was matched by sponsorship from a range of government, university and industry sources. Internationally recognised plenary presenters included Ron O’Dor of the Census of Marine Life, and Pamela Mace of the Ministry of Fisheries (NZ). The event was hosted in Hobart in August/September 2006 as a 2-day workshop and 2-day conference.
Keynote and panellist presentations involving invited speakers addressed each of the themes, many of these presenters being generally recognised internationally for their expertise in their particular research field.
The conference program involved around 150 oral presentations along with over 30 poster presentations. Papers were grouped into a range of themes, including fisheries assessment and management, recreational fisheries, movement and stock structure, early life history, biology and physiology, underwater technology, habitats and mapping.
Overall the event was an outstanding success, attracting over 320 delegates, representing the largest attendance for an ASFB national conference to date. Significantly, universities were well represented, with about 90 students attending the event. Approximately 25 international delegates from New Zealand, north America, Europe and Asia attended.
An evaluation survey of workshop participants revealed that benefits that will flow into the broader research agenda through adoption of latest techniques/technologies and through increased collaborations and partnership.
Workshop proceedings were published within 12 months of the event and have been distributed to workshop participants, research agencies, funding bodies and libraries. Downloadable pdf versions of the proceedings are also available from the ASFB website.
Tasmania, as a major centre for marine research, was a fitting place to hold the ASFB Workshop ‘Cutting Edge Technologies in Fish and Fisheries Science’.
Fisheries science now places a greater reliance on technology than ever before. The rapid global expansion in the development and application of technology enables information to be captured and interpreted in new and exciting ways. The wealth of data captured by these new techniques, their potential uses and the ways that data need to be managed, are also reliant on developing technologies.
The primary objective of this Workshop was to showcase and identify new techniques and technologies that enhance research capacity in fish and fisheries science. Secondary objectives were to identify opportunities to further develop research capacity and to consider the challenges and benefits that these opportunities may present.
The Workshop also provided an opportunity to identify emerging science-industry partnerships, and the potential for new collaborations between institutions and disciplines. It was hoped that cross-theme linkages would become evident, advancing the uses and application of available techniques. The limitations and associated pitfalls of technology were also worthy of deeper discussion, and would contribute to a fuller understanding of the future needs and directions in fish and fisheries science.