Project number: 2022-153
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $128,280.00
Principal Investigator: Deborah C. Prentice
Organisation: RM Consulting Group (RMCG)
Project start/end date: 2 May 2023 - 7 Mar 2024


The objective of this foundational work is to collaborate with industry to produce a Fishing and Aquaculture Workforce Capability Framework. The Framework will be used by fishing and aquaculture sectors / communities for workforce planning and career mapping. It will support a more strategic and consistent approach to workforce planning. This in turn, will enable industry to build its capacity through better understanding of capability needs.

In addition to the universal challenges associated with a tight labour market (e.g. attracting people, barriers to entry, addressing skills needs), the industry is operating in a changing environment. Other challenges and opportunities for the fishing and aquaculture sectors include:
• Adapting to climate change
• Biosecurity
• Managing resources efficiently
• Meeting sustainability standards / social license to operate
• Moving to a circular economy
• Managing global supply chains (developing traceability, addressing counterfeit)
• Competing with other proteins
• New markets through free trade agreements
• Adopting digital technology, and;
• Attracting and retaining people to drive responses to changes that impact on the F&A community.

The AgriFood Supply Chain Resilience report (KPMG, 2022) identified ‘labour supply, wellbeing and succession’ as one of the significant stresses for seafood supply chains. Other significant stresses were weather and climate change, cold chain and freight space availability, sustainability and social licence, pests and disease and market access.

Fish Forever (2030 vision for Australia’s fishing and aquaculture community) highlights opportunities for the F&A community and contains outcomes under each of the following missions:
1. Growth for enduring prosperity
2. Best practices and production systems
3. A culture that is inclusive and forward thinking
4. Equitable and secure resource access
5. Society and consumers trust, respect and value.

This project will identify the capability needs (current and future) to address these challenges and opportunities. Further, it will support industry, to attract and retain people and to provide pathways to build capability. Sectors will be better informed as to how to address capability needs.

Addressing these needs will ensure industry is better equipped to respond to changes, challenges and opportunities that impact the fishing and aquaculture communities. The fishing and aquaculture map (FRDC website) highlights the “complex systems behind Indigenous, commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture in Australia and how the elements are connected”. It also highlights how issues or events in one part of the system can have impacts on other sectors. Therefore, industry needs to be prepared for changes.

This project will engage with all key F&A sectors to ensure the capability framework is industry-driven and collectively owned. In addition, the project approach is designed to utilise existing sector/industry plans and not replace existing frameworks. RMCG will work collaboratively with industry.


1. Development of a fit-for-purpose capability framework for the fisheries and aquaculture industries and individual organisations
2. Engagement and collaboration with key industry stakeholders to enable adoption and use of the framework
3. Establishment of a shared process and terminology for talking about capabilities throughout the fishing and aquaculture industry
4. Mapped critical capabilities highlighting gaps and opportunities for collaborative action

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