Published: 18 December 2023 Updated: 19 December 2023
Table of contents

Minister Watt’s Research Priorities Received August 2023

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, The Hon Murray Watt, has written to all Research and Development Corporations outlining his priorities:

I am writing to set out my priorities as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry that can inform research and development investments for all Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs). The Commonwealth provides a significant amount of funding to RDCs. Therefore, it is key that RDC investment contributes to delivering the Australian Government's agricultural priorities and that these priorities are embedded in each RDC's longer-term strategic planning.

To this end, my priorities are biosecurity, climate change and sustainability, trade,

First Nations engagement and workforce. Thank you for providing information to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in late 2022 on Fisheries Research and Development Corporation's (FRDC) investments in these areas. I ask that you keep me updated on your investments and outcomes as they relate to the government's priorities.

I am also aware that the RDCs are making efforts to collaborate on cross-sectoral issues, and I strongly encourage you to continue and increase this collaboration.

FRDC’s progress in addressing these priorities can be found under the Knowledge Hub area of the FRDC website.

Apply for position of FRDC Chairperson

Applications are open for the position of FRDC Chairperson. Applications close 11.00pm (AEDT) Sunday 7 January 2024. To learn more and apply visit Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.

FRDC staffing update

A few changes to staff at the FRDC are and soon to happen.

  • General Manager Strategy and Innovation Matt Barwick has accepted an exciting secondment opportunity for 12 months within the International Environment, Reef and Oceans Division at the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) commencing January 2024. We wish him all the best with this wonderful opportunity. An internal recruitment process for the position in underway.
  • Two new Research Portfolio Manager Positions have recently been appointed with Benjamin Jones (Adelaide based) and Deepika Satchithananthan (Canberra based) commencing in January 2024.
  • Carolyn Stewardson will return to full time work in the Canberra office from 2 January 2024.
  • ICT contractor Nicole Stubing has been appointed to the position of Digitalisation and Insights Manager based in the Adelaide Office three days a week (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) effective from 1 January 2024.
  • Business team contractor Meg Forestier-Wardley commenced in her new casual position with the ICT team as the Digitalisation and Insights Officer based in the Canberra Office on 1 December 2023.
  • IT Support Officer Dean Stacey joined the FRDC team on 20 November.

See the latest FRDC organisation chart for up-to-date staffing details.

November 2023 Funding Round Update

The FRDC November Call for Investment Opportunities opened 22 November 2023 and closes 11.59pm (AEST) 16 February 2024 (unless otherwise stipulated). See November 2023 Open Call for R&D Investment Opportunities for all the details.

Investment Fund Approach to Approving Funding of RD&E

Each year FRDC hosts a Stakeholder Planning Workshop in October/November. The purpose is to bring FRDC’s stakeholders together to review progress, and plan together for the future.

The process in 2023 supplemented the traditional face-to-face workshop with a series of online discussions and an online survey. This mixed-method approach was employed to gain wider input and feedback from across FRDC's diverse and national stakeholder base.

The principle that underpinned this workshop design and process was a finding from a previous FRDC stakeholder workshop which made the case for FRDC needing to change to a new way of thinking based on the following key insights:

  • The nature of the challenges in the sectors has changed
  • The sectors are not equipped to manage systems challenges
  • Stakeholders need to become systems change leaders

Actions were recommended by stakeholders during the workshop, which were used to underpin the FRDC November Call for Investment Opportunities and future planning processes (Annual Operational Plan and R&D Plan). The key issues were:

  • Informing adaptive policy that responds to impacts of climate change
  • Biosecurity harmonisation and preventative management
  • Investment in development of leadership pathways, succession planning, capacity development, activating latent workforce, and arresting decline of small fishers
  • Accelerating uptake of diesel alternatives
  • Markets and economics (cost of operations, viability of supply to domestic and international markets)
  • Flexibility in application of policy and fisheries regulation
  • Equitable, sustainable resource access and security (including Indigenous)
  • Spatial Squeeze (includes, renewable infrastructure, ocean energy, wind farms, expansion of marine parks & aquaculture

Commencement of Five Year Independent Review of FRDC

The FRDC has commissioned Forest Hill Consulting (Scott Williams and Russell Pattinson) to undertake the review to:

  1. Assess the performance of FRDC in meeting its obligations under the PIRD Act and the 2020-2030 Statutory Funding Agreement (SFA) with the Commonwealth, with reference to:
    1. the five Performance Principles and associated Key Performance Indicators,
    2. as described in the SFA and the Guidelines,
    3. the Best Practice Guide to Stakeholder Consultation, and
    4. the RDC knowledge transfer and commercialisation guide.
  2. Assess FRDC’s development and implementation of its R&D Plan 2020-25, including the delivery of benefits to FRDC’s stakeholders and community in general, and the degree to which FRDC investments have met the needs of stakeholders.
  3. Assess the efficiency and effectiveness with which FRDC has carried out its R&D Plan 2020-25.
  4. Assess how FRDC conducts its business, review the efficiency and effectiveness of FRDC’s current processes, and assess if current processes are fit for purpose, encapsulating best practice for stakeholder engagement, and approaching business with an ‘excellence in customer service’ lens.
  5. Assess FRDC’s implementation and the effectiveness of actions taken to address feedback/recommendations from its previous Independent Performance Review (2018-19), including actions listed in the Performance Review Response and Implementation Plan and a comparison with the previous Review’s findings to identify what has/has not changed.

More details can be found on the Accountability Framework page.

2024 Status of Australian Stock Reports; and Shark and Ray Report Card

Work on the Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports 6th edition is proceeding well. Jurisdictional SAFS author teams have now submitted almost all species reports, and these are undergoing external and FRDC review. As noted in the previous FRDC update, the 6th edition will add seven new species. Publication is expected early in 2024.

The FRDC’s Shark Report Card has been expanded to include rays. The expanded Shark and Ray Report Card covers and assesses 331 species (341 stocks), of which 230 stocks have been assessed as sustainable at current levels of fishing.

The Shark and Ray Report Card showcases Australia’s exceptional management of sharks and rays, with Australian waters serving as a ‘global lifeboat’ for species and groups that are threatened elsewhere.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics 2022

ABARES published the Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics for 2022 on 14 December 2023. Production value increased 8% to $3.42b in 2021-22. Aquaculture production increased 13% to $1.94b, accounting for 56% of total GVP and wild-catch production increased by 2% to $1.51 billion, accounting for 44% of total.

Publication of the National Longspined Sea Urchin Five Year Business plan

A key outcome of the February 2023 National Centrostephanus Launceston Workshop was a commitment to establish a Task Force comprising representatives of the three state fisheries agencies, the Victorian Fisheries Authority, Marine Resources - Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania (NRE Tas) and NSW Government Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries, the CSIRO and FRDC. The Task Force developed a Plan for regional scale collaboration on best practice Centro management. This plan was a supplementary submission into the Parliament of Australia inquiry in to ‘Climate Related Marine Invasive Species’ The inquiry committee has now reported. Win-win under our oceans: Climate-related marine invasive species – Parliament of Australia (

A critical Recommendation was “2: 4.69 The committee recommends that the government consider making an immediate national investment into Centro control, guided by the Centro Task Force Plan's action areas and goals”.

Futures of Seafood

This ambitious undertaking, titled ‘Futures of Seafood: Wild. Aquaculture. Recreational. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ (FRDC-Project 2023-092) will be led by Seafood Industry Australia and Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre, with funding support from the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and DCCEEW as well as a wide range of partners to map an evidence-based future for Australia’s Indigenous, commercial, recreational and aquaculture sectors. The project is being co-funded by the Australian Government with an investment of nearly half a million dollars.

Spotlight on FRDC data products

Did you know that FRDC has a number of dashboards on our website, making it easy to view statistics and data about the fisheries and aquaculture sectors?

  • Seafood Production provides data on GVP, derived from ABARES Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics
  • Trade Dashboards present key import and export data from Australian Bureau of Statistics, Information Consultancy Services, 2007, cat. no. 9920.0, Canberra
  • Status of Australian Fish Stocks dashboards enable users to analyse key trends in stock status across jurisdictions and species

Contact for support in using these dashboards, or suggestions for future visualisations.

Climate Outlook Briefings

Alistair Hobday (CSIRO) and Claire Spillman (Bureau of Meteorology) are presenting quarterly fishing and aquaculture climate outlook and marine warming briefings to enable industry to prepare and adapt. FRDC is also helping to co-ordinate regional briefings. More information is available on the Climate Change page.

National Seafood Industry Leadership Program (NSILP)

The National Seafood Industry Leadership Program 2024 Applications are now open and close COB 25 January 2024.

This highly sought after program is funded by FRDC and supported by Austral Fisheries and Sydney Fish Market. The 2024 program commences 12 March 2024 in Melbourne and concludes 17 October 2024 in Canberra.

National Food Security Inquiry report released


The report has singled out Seafood and Dairy as two sectors that have significant growth opportunities that are currently not being realised mainly due to government policy.

Australia is heavily dependent on imports to meet its demand for seafood, while having potentially rich sources of untapped seafood resources available to it. A specific strategy for expanding the seafood sector must be developed to optimise resource use while ensuring the economic and environmental sustainability of the industry.

Innovation has the capacity to improve, and in some directions revolutionise, the production of food. There are real opportunities for value adding within the food supply chain, increasing food security and economic development. Opportunities for expanding innovation and value adding in food production must be pursued, with a view to increasing productivity and enhancing food security.

Annual Report 2022-23

The FRDC Annual Report 2022-23, was tabled in Parliament on 18 October 2023. The annual report can be viewed here.

FRDC Social Media

Are you following FRDC on our social media channels? If not, you’re missing out! Log on today and give us a follow so you can stay updated on all our activities.

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Upcoming events 2024

FRDC has updated its upcoming events web page as a single location for events.

New projects approved since last update 1 August 2023

Project Number



Principal Investigator


Joint Asia Pacific Marine Biotechnology Conference and Australia New Zealand Marine Biotechnology Society Conference 2023

Flinders University

Steven M. Clarke


Approaches for incorporating Indigenous Rights, practices and catch into resource sharing and harvest strategy frameworks, based on international experiences

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Nicholas R. McClean


Rapid benefit cost analyses for inclusion in the FRDC 2022-23 Annual Report

ACRE Economics

Talia C. Hardaker


Reducing impacts on threatened, endangered, and protected species in the Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct

Matthew J. Campbell


Developing a framework to evaluate capability and capacity investment and implementation

First Person Consulting

Patrick Gilmour


Minor use permit for trimethoprim-sulfadiazine in commercially cultured marine and freshwater finfish

Panaquatic Health Solutions Pty Ltd

Paul Hardy-Smith


Rural Women's Award bursaries

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)

Sally Roberts


Value-add and transition the Australian Herring (Arripis georgianus) commercial fishery from the bait market to the human consumption market through effective marketing strategies and industry collaboration

Blueshift Consulting

Robert A. Bell


FRDC 2016-068 Vulnerability of the endangered Maugean skate population to degraded environmental conditions in Macquarie Harbour- presentation to the 6th international conference of fish telemetry 23

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Hobart

David Moreno


Toolbox for the estimation of fish population abundance

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Alistair Hobday


National Hatchery Network – Australian Sustainable Seaweed Alliance Program Leadership and Coordination

Australian Sustainable Seaweed Alliance

Lindsay Hermes


National Seafood Industry Leadership Program 2023/2024 (NSILP)

Affectus Pty Ltd

Jill Briggs


Developing skills and capabilities of middle-management and supervisory staff on Australian prawn farms (pilot program)

Australian Prawn Farmers Association (APFA)

Jackson Taber


Assessing the efficiency of alternative bait options for the Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) fishery

Flinders University

Lachlan McLeay


Communication of 2019-051 "Seismic impacts to octopus" results at OceanNoise 2023 conference in Barcelona

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Hobart

Ryan Day


Australian Rural Leadership Program FRDC scholarships (2023-25)

Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF)

Philippa Woodhill


Post-graduate support to develop science to support Red Sea Urchin fisheries

University of Sydney (USYD)

Maria Byrne


Reciprocal working group visit to France for oyster farming and hatchery technology transfer

Hexcyl Systems Pty Ltd

Garry Seidl


Tasmanian Seafood Awards: RD&E Category sponsorship

Seafood Industry Tasmania

Julian J. Harrington


World volunteer fishtag summit

Infofish Australia Pty Ltd

Bill Sawynok


To evaluate the possible impacts of the proposed South Coast Marine Park on commercial fishing

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council Inc (WAFIC)

Carli Telfer


Biosecurity threats and vulnerabilities of the Southern Rock Lobster Fishery

AusVet Pty Ltd

Brendan D. Cowled


Educational travel trip for Ocean Trap and Line industry development to explore alternative fishing practices which help prevent TEP species interactions and ghost fishing

OceanWatch Australia Ltd

Kristin Hoel


Field based trials and risk assessment of new species to enhance the value of tropical and subtropical impoundment fisheries

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Bribie Island

Michael Hutchison


Southern Ocean IPA (Austral Fisheries only) - Metal Detector installation on Toothfish vessels to improve PIT tag recovery rates

Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd

Rhys Arangio


Post graduate support for novel governance for a changing ocean

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Andrew Sullivan


Development of an Experimental Aquaculture Facility (EAF) specific Amoebic Gill Disease (AGD) challenge model that can reliably evaluate treatment interventions to support industry focused AGD studies

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Hobart

Mark B. Adams


Methods to account for climate impacts in fishery models and management: Case study example of environmental contributors that affect Tiger Prawn population dynamics


Eva Plaganyi-Lloyd


Understanding the feasibility of close kin mark recapture for Scalloped Hammerhead in Australia, SE Asia and the Western Pacific

CSIRO Environment

Toby Patterson


Filling the knowledge gaps to recover Tasmania's favourite recreational fishery - Southern Sand Flathead

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Hobart

Sean Tracey


Minor use permit for Chloramine-T in marine and freshwater finfish

University of Adelaide

Marty R. Deveney


Minor use permit to sedate marine or freshwater crustaceans using registered products containing isoeugenol

University of Adelaide

Marty R. Deveney


Characterising the impacts of warm water and other stressors on the boom-and-bust cycle of the Commercial Scallop

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Hobart

Ryan Day

Final Reports received since last update 1 August 2023

Note that some of these final reports are currently not available on our website.

Project Number



Principal Investigator


Application of a machine learning approach for effective stock management of farmed abalone

James Cook University (JCU)

Jan Strugnell


Identifying mechanisms and data collection options to aid socio-economic analysis of the NT seafood industry

Northern Territory Seafood Council (NTSC)

Katherine Winchester


Indigenous Branding in the Fishing and Seafood Industry - Economic Creation and Capture

Ridge Partners

Ewan A. Colquhoun


Seafood on Spencer - showcasing Spencer Gulf seafood

Seafood on Spencer Inc

Christy Barnes


FRDC sponsorships for 24th International Seaweed Symposium 19-24 Feb 2023, Hobart

Conference Design Pty Ltd

Catriona Hurd


Evaluation of point of care (POC) tests for White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV)

CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory

Stacey Valdeter


Maintaining cultural practices and building knowledge and capacity to support sustainable fishing of the Gynburra on Narungga Sea Country

Southern Fishery and Ecosystem Solutions (SFES)

Garry E. Goldsmith


Examining the potential impacts of seismic surveys on Octopus and larval stages of Southern Rock Lobster

University of Tasmania

Jayson M. Semmens


Design aspects of well-functioning ITQ markets

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Ingrid van Putten


CRC Northern Australia - Biosecurity in northern Australian prawn aquaculture

Australian Prawn Farmers Association (APFA)

Dean Jerry


RRD4P: FRDC Contribution: Closing the Loop: Black Soldier Fly technology to convert agricultural waste

Australian Pork Ltd (APL)

Denise Woods


Attendance and participation at the Governing Changing Oceans Workshop and PICES-5th International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Ocean - Bergen Norway

Fish Focus Consulting

Andrew Sullivan


Know & Show your Carbon Footprint - Discovery Phase

Agricultural Innovation Australia Ltd (AIA)

Sarah Castellanos


A global review on implications of plastic in seafood

University of Adelaide

Bronwyn M. Gillanders


Valuing WA smaller commercial fisheries across the supply chain

BDO EconSearch

Anders Magnusson


Aquatic animal welfare – a review of guidance documents and legislation

Panaquatic Health Solutions Pty Ltd

Paul Hardy-Smith


Asparagopsis R&D review and implementation plan for a national seaweed hatchery network

Australian Sustainable Seaweed Alliance

Jo Kelly


Mapping the aquaculture engagement and aquaculture literacy landscape

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA)

Julie Petty


Informing adaptive management of Portunid fisheries in New South Wales

NSW Department of Primary Industries

Matt D. Taylor


Southern Ocean IPA: Environmental and ecosystem drivers of catch efficiency within Australia’s subantarctic Patagonian Toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) fisheries

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Ryan Downie


Preliminary evaluation of electro stunning technology for farmed Barramundi

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Brisbane

Brian Paterson


Developing capability and improve access to Chairperson capacity in fishing and aquaculture (bursary)

KAL Analysis

Kate J. Brooks


Seafood employment and training platform (build - structure and design)

Prime Motive

Brendan Michel


Innovative Pipi harvesting based on real time biological and economic data

Goolwa PipiCo

Tom S. Robinson


Development of a Stock Status Report Card for Rays and Sharks

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Colin Simpfendorfer


Rapid benefit cost analyses for inclusion in the FRDC 2022-23 Annual Report

ACRE Economics

Talia C. Hardaker


Sponsorship of the 11th International Abalone Symposium, held in Auckland New Zealand at Auckland University of Technology from 27 February to 2 March 2023

Auckland University of Technology

Andrea Alfaro


Fish and Chips Awards 2021

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA)

Veronica Papacosta


The role of the recreational fisher in the stewardship of the Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery

University of Tasmania

Sean Tracey


Sponsorship of World Aquaculture 2023

Associated Advertising and Promotions Pty Ltd

Natalie Bell


Sponsorship of the Wooden Boat Festival Hobart Feb 2023

Seafood Industry Tasmania

Julian J. Harrington


NPF Tiger Prawn Fishery Adaptation Strategy workshop

NPF Industry Pty Ltd

Annie Jarrett


Water abstraction impacts on flow dependent fisheries species of the Northern Territory, Australia - a synthesis of current knowledge and future research needs

Griffith University Nathan Campus

Kaitlyn O'Mara


Integrated approach to improving stock assessment of Black Jewfish

Charles Darwin University (CDU)

Joanne Randall


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