Project number: 2016-404
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $533,767.20
Principal Investigator: Nicholas J. Moody
Organisation: CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory
Project start/end date: 30 Jun 2016 - 30 Aug 2020


AAHBS provides a cohesive national approach to FRDC-supported aquatic animal health R&D in Australia by providing leadership, direction and focus for health R&D and other related non-R&D activities. AAHS was renewed in 2012 based on national need, previous performance and strong stakeholder support. Key strengths include its strategic focus and the establishment of a network of aquatic animal health experts and research providers. An external review of AAHS was undertaken in 2015 and it found that the consensus among the major stakeholders was that AAHS provides an essential service for the major stakeholders. Thus, continuation of AAHS beyond 2016 on the basis of a shared financial commitment by stakeholders from industry and governments is highly desirable.

Australia’s aquatic animal sector is free from many diseases that occur overseas, providing us with a competitive advantage in both production and trade. While the number of aquatic animal species and the absolute number of aquatic animals being farmed in Australia is increasing annually, new diseases caused by emerging infectious agents (e.g. new yellow head virus genotypes, oyster oedema disease, ostreid herpesvirus, Bonamia exitiosa) continue to threaten the sustainability of significant enterprises, and the call on health services to support this expanding industry is growing.

In addition to aquaculture, aquatic animal health R&D is required for the other aquatic animal sectors, including wild-capture (c.f. Edwardsiella ictaluri in catfish), recreational (c.f. Perkinsus in oysters) and ornamental (c.f. gourami iridovirus), that share the aquatic environment. Thus health services need to be coordinated across all aquatic sectors to ensure synergy while avoiding duplication. FRDC, through AAHBS, plays a major role in addressing research needs and training in aquatic animal health. With its incumbent expertise and experience, AAHBS is able to direct these activities in the most pressing areas.


1. Manage a portfolio of R&amp
D projects that are directly concerned with aquatic animal health &amp
biosecurity and are not managed by other FRDC subprograms, FRABs or IPAs
2. In consultation with key stakeholders (industry, government and aquatic animal health providers) develop strategic directions for R&amp
3. Facilitate the dissemination of outputs (information and results) from R&amp
D projects to key stakeholders


ISBN: 978-1-925994-10-0
Author: Mark St. J. Crane and Joanne M. Slater
Report • 2021-05-01


This report is about the activities of the FRDC’s Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram (AAHBS) for the period 2016-2020. 

In the period 2016-20, AAHBS has managed 27 projects concerned with aquatic animal health and biosecurity. AAHBS also provided advice on other aquatic animal health- and biosecurity-related projects that were part of other FRDC programs. In addition, AAHBS has a specific role in managing the DAWE/FRDC Aquatic Animal Health Training Scheme. AAHBS also provided comment, as requested, on health-related projects submitted to industry peak bodies.

AAHBS reviewed, in-house, the Subprogram R&D Plan on an annual basis which included consultation with major stakeholders (industry and governments). The revisions accounted for the changing aquatic animal health and biosecurity R&D needs at the enterprise, industry sector, and state and national levels.

During the period 2016-2020, there were seven issues of the Subprogram newsletter, Health Highlights, which has a broad distribution list (>300 subscribers) that includes industry associations, research providers and regulators both domestically and internationally. In addition, AAHBS provided support for the 2017 White Spot Disease R&D Needs Workshop and 2017 Pinctada maxima Pearl Oyster Health Workshop. Two FRDC Australasian Scientific Conferences on Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity were convened in Cairns (in 2017 and 2019). The Cairns conference provides a unique opportunity for regulators, researchers and industry to meet and discuss the latest research results and current issues relating to aquatic animal health and biosecurity. Workshop and conference proceedings were distributed electronically to participants.

Related research


SeSAFE – Delivering Industry Safety through Electronic Learning

1. INFORM, via an independent review, the design and application of user-pay funding models in Australian primary industries, the potential for a similar model to be introduced by SeSAFE in the fishing and aquaculture industry, and steps recommended to realise this outcome.
Smart Fishing Consulting