Published: 17 October 2023 Updated: 22 February 2024
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The FRDC’s Extension Officer Network was established in mid-2022. One Extension Officer was appointed in each State and Territory, tasked with engaging directly with individuals and organizations involved in fishing and aquaculture. The network's purpose is to enhance the adoption of FRDC’s research outcomes and to identify the research and development needs of grassroots stakeholders for inclusion in FRDC’s investment calls.

How can Extension Officers help you?

Do you:

  • have a great idea or are tackling a challenge related to seafood where R&D may help you?
  • want the latest R&D information on your topic ?
  • want help connecting with people that you can collaborate with ?
  • want advice on best-practise extension to achieve impact and adoption from your R&D ?

Then contact your local Extension Officer.  They are keen to help you, and anyone else working in F&A and the broader seafood sector, and people that don’t normally apply for FRDC investment.

Meet your Extension Officers

Queensland - Steve Eayrs

Extension Officer in Queensland - Steve EayrsHi, my name is Steve Eayrs, and I am pleased to be FRDC’s Extension Officer for Queensland.

Since taking up this role I have worked particularly closely with the Queensland commercial fishing industry during a time of significant change and uncertainty, due largely to recent changes in harvest strategies and regulation, access to stocks, and threats to profitability. My work has included organising informational workshops to share news of latest developments, bringing fishers and others together to tackle issues, and sharing information from relevant FRDC-funded research as well as other sources, to help the industry remain up to date. I have also been establishing relationships with recreational fishers and indigenous groups. 

I am particularly interested in forging close relationships with all stakeholders and leveraging my commercial fishing, research, and change management experience, to get positive outcomes for all stakeholders. I am keen to ensure widespread knowledge of FRDC-funded projects and seeking win-win outcomes from these and other change initiatives.

I can be contacted at


Tasmania - David Maynard

Extension Officer in Tasmania - David MaynardHi, my name is David Maynard, and I am the Extension Officer for Tasmania.

I have been working with Tasmanian fishers and aquaculturists to understand their research needs to ensure they remain sustainable and productive. I am also helping researchers to convert their often-complex scientific outcomes into outputs that fishers and the community can use to make important decisions on their operations.

My two key strategic priorities are climate change impacts on fisheries and aquaculture, and circular economy. Tasmania’s coastal waters are undergoing significant change with warming waters, changing currents and new species arriving from the north. It is important that fishers and the community understand what they need to do to survive this period of unprecedented climate change. Equally, there are many opportunities to convert waste into profit, and work with supply chains to phase out single use products and materials.

I can be contacted at


New South Wales - Kris Cooling

Extension Officer in New South Wales - Kris CoolingHi, my name is Kris Cooling and I’m the Extension Officer for New South Wales. 

I connect people associated with fisheries and aquaculture to FRDC, particularly in NSW but also nationally when it comes to recreational fishing and circular economy opportunities. This connection is most importantly, a two-way discussion; I help explore FRDC projects and programs with stakeholders, and work to take their insights and knowledge back to our planning and investment processes. It’s the second part of this process that I’ve found the most rewarding - our fisheries and aquaculture community is overflowing with ideas and insights, and it’s a real pleasure to help amplify and connect them to FRDC and beyond.

I’m committed to working with everyone I can to build a resilient, adaptable, and progressive future and I really encourage anyone I haven’t met with yet to get in touch at:


Northern Territory - Lauren Thornton

Extension Officer in Northern Territory - Lauren ThorntonHi, my name is Lauren Thornton, and I am the Extension officer for the Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory has unique people, culture, and environments, which makes it important to have a an NT Extension Officer on the ground to address research priorities and concerns.

FRDC’s strategic priorities align with my personal values. I aim to provide suitable and easy to understand information and support to stakeholders.  I have experience with cross cultural community engagement and a passion for capability and capacity-building across all fisheries sectors, particularly women and Indigenous enterprises.

I can be contacted at


South Australia - Nathan Bicknell

Extension Officer in South Australia - Nathan BicknellHi, my name is Nathan Bicknell, and I am the Extension Officer for South Australia.

I have a background in commercial fishing complemented by my training in Marine Science and Fisheries Management. I have applied this experience in various fishing sectors over the last 20 years.

I enjoy the opportunity to work across the broad breadth of marine stakeholders. The long-term impact of research, development and extension (RD&E), requires an integrated approach within and across sectors and industries, rather than a business-by-business approach.

Australia’s seafood industry was pioneered by people with vision and passion for the life-aquatic. The inclusion of end-users through the RD&E process will support first movers and enhance the impact of investments. Local examples include aquaculture companies augmenting traditional operations by growing and harvesting seaweed.

I can be contacted at


Western Australia - Felicity Horn

Extension Officer in Western Australia - Felicity Horn Hi, my name is Felicity Horn and I am the Extension Officer for Western Australia. I have previously worked with the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and the Shark Bay Prawn Trawler Operators’ Association.

Since starting in the Extension Officer role, the scope of research ideas being raised from different stakeholders has been overwhelming and varied. This has extended from looking at exploring new offshore fishing opportunities, sustainable packaging, improved vessel efficiency, fishing gear tracking technologies, shark deterrents and reducing both recreational and commercial seafood waste. With so many opportunities coming forward, there is a need to work closely with the peak groups and the WA Research Advisory Committee to ensure the best outcomes can be delivered.

Of the 10 FRDC shared strategic opportunities there are three that I have a particular interest in. Firstly, reducing bycatch, including exploring opportunities to utilise discards and increase seafood production.  Secondly, spatial squeeze and its impacts on the seafood sector, arising from increasing pressures from offshore energy, marine parks and other developments.   Thirdly, climate impacts on fisheries and marine users. While there are far more immediate issues facing stakeholders, it’s evident that most fisheries are experiencing some level of unseasonal or unexplained change, but this is not well understood or considered.

I can be contacted at


Victoria - Matt Jones

Extension Officer in Victoria - Matt JonesAs the Victorian Extension Officer, I have embarked on an incredible journey engaging with numerous stakeholders in the fishing and aquaculture industries across the state and nationally. This has been a personally enriching experience. I have initiated the process of building awareness of FRDC with diverse groups and facilitating their involvement in research and development opportunities. I will continue this inclusive approach in all aspects of my role and work to extend along research outputs to specific groups or communities in a manner that best suits their needs.

I am filled with excitement about the prospects my role offers. Fostering on-the-ground relationships and facilitating the exchange of valuable information is critical to the ongoing development of fishing and aquaculture. I've found my role to be both challenging and rewarding as I work to integrate FRDC's activities into existing programs and stakeholder groups. The seafood community's diversity, both in geographical locations and perspectives, has guided my focus on understanding and responding to the needs and expectations of our end-users.

I can be contacted at


Extension Officer Manager - Jamie Allnutt

Extension Officer Manager Jamie AllnuttFor more information about the Extension Officer Network, please contact Transformational Extension and Adoption Manager Jamie Allnutt at






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