Table of contents
Research priorities

Download this briefing as a PDF.


Funding applications 2017

  • Open Call Funding Round Announcement

  • October 2016 Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop Update.

  • New Research Advisory Committee Management Procedure.

  • New Investment Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Policy.

  • FRDC New Commercialisation and Intellectual Property Management Approach.


Research update

  • National Carp Control Program

  • Seismic Research Update.

  • Marine Mammal Update.

  • People Development – Understanding Needs.

  • Status of Australia Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports Update.

  • Senate Climate Change Inquiry update.


Funding opportunities


Marketing update

  • Voluntary Marketing Funds

  • Marketing Levy Development



  • Key new projects approved since last update.



Funding Applications 2017


Open Call Funding Round Announcement


The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation is calling for Expressions of Interest (EOI) that address the priority areas nominated by the Research Advisory Committees, Industry Partnership Agreements and the FRDC Subprograms.


Respective RACs, IPAs and Subprograms have been through their planning processes to form their priorities. In addition, the FRDC held its annual stakeholder planning workshop in late October 2016 to discuss among other things where there might be collaborative opportunities. It was apparent that there are a number of priority areas relevant to multiple RACs, IPAs and Subprograms:

  • Impacts of seismic testing
  • Resource access/allocation
  • Data collection/needs and data gaps
  • People development and capacity building
  • Community support/demonstration of the broader value of fishing and aquaculture


EOI’s that combine more than one priority area, where those priority areas or elements thereof are similar, are encouraged.


The overview of priority areas for RD&E investment are outlined below and a full description can be downloaded from the Applying for Funding page FRDC website or directly here – 2017 Annual Competitive Round Priorities.


Expression of Interests are to be completed via Fishnet ( Applications must be finalised by the 15th of February 2017.


Under the FRDC’s new flexible approach to investment this is one of potentially three calls for applications in 2017. The other calls, if priorities are nominated, will be in April and August. For more information please see: /research/applying_funding/Pages/call_for_applications.aspx


October 2016 Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop Update

The FRDC held its annual stakeholder planning workshop in Adelaide on 26 and 27 October. A major aim of the workshop as well as to discuss priorities was to determine better ways for the FRDC to drive co-investment across various partner groups. Under the 2015-2020 RD&E Plan the FRDC has allocated funding to help encourage co-investment and deliver on relevant research areas across multiple stakeholders.


The workshop was well attended and as always gave a great opportunity for those from fishing and aquaculture across the nation to come together and ‘talk shop’.


A key area that was presented at the workshop is that of people development. The FRDC has recently commissioned a study to assess current needs for people development (see below). Results from this were presented at the workshop and it is clear that there are still common needs in people development across all sectors not just relating to leadership training but there was also a strong emphasis on succession planning.


The FRDC will be establishing rules around how stakeholders can access additional funding when co-investing in common priorities. Additionally, there were a number of common priority areas identified:

  • Impacts of seismic testing

  • Resource access/allocation

  • Data needs and data gaps; and

  • People development


The FRDC will be working on ways to address these areas of research as well.

Draft outcomes from the workshop including presentations will be on the FRDC website linked to the following page /Partners.


New Research Advisory Committee Management Procedure

The revised Research Advisory Committee (RAC) management procedure is now available. This document outlines the: (i) framework for the management of RACs; (ii) governance for the RACs; and (iii) guidance on investment procedures and processes. This document has been developed in consultation with the RACs.


The RACs are now focused on finalising their individual RD&E 5-year plans that will be made publically available on individual RAC webpages as part of the FRDC website redesign.


New Investment Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Policy

The revised investment RD&E Policy has been developed to better reflect how the FRDC invests in RD&E.  The key policy areas are:

  • Consultative structures

  • Planning framework

  • Investment goals:

    • Delivering the FRDC RD&E Plan 2015-2020

    • Proportionate investment between public and private benefit

    • Balance investment portfolio between different stakeholders

    • Balance between encouraging competition between research providers and maximising research provider collaboration

  • Leveraging or co-investment

  • Budgeting principles

  • Utilising a risk approach

  • Evaluation and investment criteria.


The FRDC Investment RD&E Policy can be located at:



FRDC New Commercialisation and Intellectual Property Management Approach

At its August 2016 meeting the board considered a report from Dr Len Stephens on FRDC’s approach to intellectual property and:

  • agreed that the focus going forward should be on identifying new proposals containing intellectual property, and commercialisation potential
  • agreed that FRDC should not go into the business of selling publications
  • agreed that all proposals to implement a new service should include a business case analysis for approval by the board (and that a full costing approach would be the preferred model)




National Carp Control Program

Several members of the team that will be coordinating the National Carp Control Plan have been appointed, effective December 1st 2016.


Matt Barwick has been officially appointed as the National Coordinator. For the media release see /News-and-Media-Releases/News-and-Media-Releases


Pele Cannon has been engaged by FRDC to support all preliminary activities and will continue to assist the establishment of the Plan and associated projects through to Dec 31st 2016.


Toby Piddocke will be the main Projects Officer for the Plan, and Tom Chesson has been appointed as the National Strategic Communications Manager. An additional Communications Officer will be appointed shortly. 


For further details on the Plan and the Carp Virus see and


Seismic Research Update


The most recent completed fisheries related seismic research can be found at:



Seismic testing and any associated impacts remains a high priority area for research across many jurisdictions and industry sectors. The FRDC is working to ensure collaboration and co-investment in the research and that the research is targeted to achieve the right outcome.


Marine Mammal Update

A new report to identify critical knowledge gaps on potential impacts of key marine mammal species to inform management. The report came about following a two-day workshop on mitigating interactions with marine mammals funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. The report concluded that:

  • expert elicitation was not an appropriate method for estimating population abundance where empirical data was lacking.

  • in order to use methods such as Potential Biological Removal to calculate limits to anthropogenic mortality to a given population, the key data required is a recent robust estimate of abundance and the spatial extent of that population.

  • data availability varies among species groups; in general, there is good data available for pinnipeds; data are lacking for dolphin species.

  • availability of data influenced confidence in the estimating PBRs.


View the final report at - /research/final-reports/Pages/2015-035-DLD.aspx


People Development – Understanding Needs

FRDC have contracted Ross Ord (Food and Agribusiness Solutions) to help understand the people development RD&E priorities of Research Advisory Committees, Industry Partnership Agreements and Subprograms. At the October Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop, Ross provided an update of the identified priorities in the people development space, these included:

  • Interpersonal communications

  • Leadership (for the fishing industry and the individual’s)

  • Digital technology

  • Workplace Health and Safety

  • Human Resources

  • Export awareness


At the Stakeholder Workshop there was support for a consistent Australia-wide program covering foundation skills required by members of local industry associations as well as providing assistance to businesses to take stock of their current employee practices.


Status of Australia Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports Update

The Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) reports has become widely recognised as a key source of information on the sustainability of key commercial fish species. Managed by the FRDC and overseen by the SAFS Advisory Committee, the reports collate available biological, catch and effort information to determine the status of Australia’s key wild catch fish stocks against a nationally agreed reporting framework.


The third edition of the reports will be published online in December 2016 and will include an additional 15 species which brings the total count to 83 species or species complexes.


To increase the efficiency of the SAFS reports production and publication process, the FRDC is developing a dynamic web-platform. A long-term aim of the web-platform is to allow for ongoing updates of stock status information as it becomes available in different jurisdictions.


The build of this web platform has a key focus on delivering (i) complete species chapters views (PDF printable), (ii) state based views (PDF printable), and (iii) increased search functionality. The reports will be web-enabled and mobile device enabled; and provide users with a short concise summary (snapshot) on first view with the ability to drill down to more detailed information.


At this point in time, all chapters are in various stages of peer review and editing, with more than 50 external peer reviewers contribute to the production of species chapters. The process of uploading to the web platform has begun which also involves data cleaning and ensuring consistency checks. Producing the SAFS reports in this way marks a significant change in an evolution the FRDC hopes will provide all users more functionality.


Senate Climate Change Inquiry update

The Federal Senate inquiry for Current and future impacts of climate change on marine fisheries and biodiversity closing date for submission was 14 November.


The FRDC submission has now been approved by the Senate Committee and is available on the Submissions page. It can also be found at /about_frdc/corporate-documents/Pages/Submissions.aspx


Executive summary

Australia’s oceans generate considerable economic wealth through fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, oil and natural gas, and transport. Marine ecosystems provide irreplaceable services including oxygen production, nutrient recycling and climate regulation.


Climate change is already impacting on estuarine and marine fisheries and biodiversity with extreme climate variability events well documented.


Adaptation and flexibility are key – Australia’s policy and management frameworks are well placed to respond because they are already adaptive and flexible.


The key principles in Australia’s strategic approach to marine fisheries and biodiversity management including our changing climate are:

  • Widespread recognition of a changing marine environment:

  • Continuing to ensure sustainability in our marine management:

  • Adaptation is key:

  • Climate impacts must be included as part of an adaptive management response:

  • Ensuring a strong legacy for our science investments:

  • Australia has a well-established system of data collection to support management:

  • Building an enduring science-based marine policy framework for Australia:

  • Focused and enabling investment:


International Coalition of Fisheries Association (ICFA) update

At the recent ICFA meeting the following were the key items discussed:

  • FAO’s Blue Growth Initiative

  • New port state measured to prevent and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing

  • Progress on the Global Record Working Group – phase 1 of the register is for boats greater than 100 gross tonnage and greater than 24m in length

  • Voluntary Guidelines for Catch Documentation Schemes (CDS) progress – progress will depend on support from Latin American voting bloc at FAO

  • United Nations implementation of the changes to the law of the sea address what is known as Biodiversity Beyond Natural Jurisdictions (BBNJ)

  • Results of the recent CITES meeting in South Africa – see FAO technical assessments at

  • Increasing restrictions on bottom fishing

  • Decent employment – ethical labour certification result of high profile cases in media of workers being exploited.  EU has agreed to implement new policy on working conditions on fisheries boats – to deliver living and working conditions ( links to Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (no.188) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) -

  • Korea has agreed to host the next Rights Based fisheries conference in October 2018




Third Round of Rural R&D for Profit Programme

The third round of the Rural R&D for Profit Programme was announced in October. The closing date for this round is 6 December and will likely have passed when you read this.


The FRDC is supporting several applications for this round of the process as follows:

  • Development of northern aquaculture opportunities – a project across the themes of health and biosecurity, nutrition and feeding systems, and production systems. The species currently involved in this project are Cobia, Tropical Groupers and Barramundi, there is also a possibility that prawns (farming) and Tropical Rock Oysters may also be included in components of this project.

  • Drones – This project is intended to automate data collection and analysis related to identification of aggregations of Banana Prawns in the Gulf of Carpentaria and as a secondary activity undertake assessments of dry land pastures and identification of feral animals to assist in managing herd numbers in northern grazing areas and manage feral pests

  • Abalone retort – using modern technology to show that the thermal processing of canned abalone can be reduced which will result in reduced thermal processing of abalone and therefore reducing product weight loss and increasing profits.

  • Southern Bluefin Tuna feed and feeding strategies – The overall objective of this project is to enhance SBT feeding strategies in a sustainable, nutritionally sound manner and realise substantial gains in production efficiency; using a range of novel, innovative technologies on-farm.

  • There are several other applications which are being supported by other RDC’s which the FRDC may be involved in, including: Oral vaccination in intensive agriculture/aquaculture and a multi RDC project on biosecurity, likely based around conducting audits of biosecurity risks.

  • For more information refer to -


Clean Energy Finance Corporation  

The new Clean Energy Finance Corporation is interested in the fishing and aquaculture sectors needs regarding how to implement new technology to reduce carbon. 


The Clean Energy Finance Corporation invests, through a commercial approach, to increase the flow of finance into the clean energy sector. Their mission is to accelerate Australia's transformation towards a more competitive economy in a carbon constrained world, by acting as a catalyst to increase investment in emissions reduction. This is done through an investment strategy focused on cleaner power solutions, including large and small-scale solar, wind and bioenergy; and a better built environment, with investments to drive more energy efficient property, vehicles, infrastructure and industry.


The fishing an aquaculture sectors could benefit through the provision of finance to improve energy efficiency through investment in improved technologies to reduce such things as fuel use and existing energy intensive systems as well as moving towards cleaner energy power sources such as solar and wind.


Information on this new funding source can be found at:


Farming Together – new grant program

Farming Together (Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program) - is a $14,934,000 Federal Government initiative that aims to provide farmers with knowledge, skills and materials on co-operatives, collective bargaining and other forms of collaboration.

Farming Together aims to:

  • Improve knowledge of how co-operatives, collective bargaining and supply chain negotiations can improve farmers’ returns.

  • Improve the knowledge of options available to farmers and farm advisors regarding such innovative business models including various forms of collaboration

  • Improve the agriculture focused legal and financial expert advice available regarding the process, implementation and management of such business models

To be eligible for the programme, you must be a primary producer, or be part of a group of primary producers.


New CRC bids being developed

There are two CRC bids which the FRDC has an interest in which have progressed to the final round of the Federal Governments CRC program. The final round closed in late October and the announcement of successful ones should be announced in early 2017. Details of two ones the FRDC has interest in can be found at the following two links:




Voluntary Marketing Funds

The FRDC continues to pursue changes to the Primary Industry Research and Development Act to allow for use of voluntary marketing funds. Consultation with the Assistant Minister and Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will continue, however at this stage the indication is for amendments to the legislation to go to the Autumn 2017 sessions.


Marketing Levy Development

The Australian Prawn Farmers Association and Abalone Council of Australia have both progressed towards the establishment of their respective levies. This is discussed below.


Australian Prawn Farmers (APFA) marketing levy progress

Ewan Colquhoun has been appointed to help run the APFA Marketing levy process in conjunction with Helen Jenkins and Matt West. The final business and consultation plans were presented to the APFA Executive meeting on 24th October 2016 in Brisbane. The Executive agreed to proceed with consultation phase, with a view to undertake the Levy Ballot in February 2017.

Consultation will be undertaken from November to February with all farmer owners as part of the process, before a formal vote is undertaken and submission sent to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.


Australian Wild Abalone (AWA) Marketing Levy Progression

Development work and consultation for the AWA Marketing levy is well underway. Dean Lisson, Jayne Gallagher and Ewan Colquhoun have developed all the material necessary for both the industry to make an informed decision and comment; as well meet the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources requirements.  Formal consultation will commence in the coming November/December. The consultation phase is expected to run through to March/April 2017, with the levy poll potentially run in May 2017. As part of this process a website has been established ( - password: AWA) which houses all the documents for consultation – background, marketing strategy, frequently asked questions, etc.


Love Australian Prawns (LAP)

The Love Australian Prawn committee met in Adelaide to finalise the work plan for 2016-17. Ben Hale from Adpower has been appointed to oversee the delivery of the 2016-17 campaign, with development of material for the 2016-17 campaign well underway.



Seafood Directions 2017

Seafood Directions 2017 Conference dates are 27 – 29 September 2017 at the International Convention Centre, Sydney. For more information – see  


Key events 2016-2017


Publication of 2016 Status of Australian Fish Stocks reports

15 February 2017

Open Call Funding round expressions of interest due date


Feb/March 2017

Jurisdictional FRDC Research Advisory Committee (RAC) Meetings (no. 3)


5-7 June 2017

Seafood Summit - Seattle

27-30 June

World Aquaculture 2017

27-29 September

Seafood Directions.


FRDC Board Meeting Dates



21-22 February 2017


27-28 April 2017


14-15 June 2017


16-17 August 2017


See /Pages/Calendar.aspx for more events.



Interesting web links

Seafood New Zealand have developed a new guide to purchasing sustainable NZ seafood

If you are interested in government funding schemes – see

The Regional Australia Institute has some excellent tools – e.g. the Regional Accelerator



Key new projects approved since last update

For all current active projects visit /research/current_research_projects/Pages/default.aspx


NOTE: projects approved may not yet be contracted 

Project ID

Project description





RAC QLD: Validating a defensible and robust method for data collection, species composition and reporting the harvest of protected coral species from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area

Pro-vision Reef Inc.

Ryan Donnelly



The role of spatial protection measures in mitigating effects of bycatch and increasing yields in the NSW Ocean Trawl Fishery


Matt Taylor



RAC WA: Golden Fish: evaluating and optimising the biological, social and economic returns of small-scale fisheries

Murdoch University

James Tweedley



RAC CMWTH - ASBTIA IPA: next-generation Close-kin Mark Recapture: using SNPs to identify half-sibling pairs in Southern Bluefin Tuna and estimate abundance, mortality and selectivity

CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere Flagship

Campbell Davies



Addressing knowledge gaps for studies of the effect of water resource development on the future of the Northern Prawn Fishery

CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere Flagship

Rob Kenyon



Indigenous fishing subprogram: Business opportunities and impediments for Aboriginal community development in supportive fishing industries in the Roper River to Robinson River area of the Northern Territory

Northern Land Council

Lorrae McArthur



RAC TAS: Waste to profit in urchin fisheries: developing business opportunities to ensure fishery sustainability and safeguard reef dependent fisheries from destructive urchin grazing

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

John Keane



RAC SA: Building economics into fisheries management decision making - to utilise a suite of SA case studies

EconSearch Pty Ltd

Julian Morison



NSW RAC: Boosting fisher returns through smart value adding and greater use of underutilised species

Ridge Partners

Ewan Colquhoun



Determine the acceptability, scope and form of a proposed standard, and associated certification scheme, for imported seafood

FRC Solutions

Fred Reynolds



Guidelines for the updated Harvest Strategy Policy


Simon Nicol



Development of sector-specific biosecurity plan templates and guidance documents for the abalone and oyster aquaculture industries


Shane Roberts



Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics 2015


Robert Curtotti



RAC NSW: Market study to assist target seafood marketing campaign to restore consumer confidence after Hunter River fishing closure due to contamination

Professional Fishermen’s Association Inc

Tricia Beatty



RAC VIC: "Protect your catchment, protect your catch" - a collaborative initiative to boost fishery productivity in Corner Inlet

Mezo Research

John Ford



Social Sciences Economics Research Coordination Program: Sustainable Fishing Families: Developing industry human capital through health, wellbeing, safety and resilience

Deakin University

Tanya King



RAC VIC: Catch the Drift - Leadership and development training for the next generation in the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries

Rural Training Initiatives


Jill Briggs




Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram: Strategic planning, project management and adoption

CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratories

Mark Crane



Australian Society for Fish Biology: Scientific networking, early career development and international engagement

Australian Society for Fish Biology

Chris Fulton



WINSC - Providing pathways for the involvement of women in seafood industry development

Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community

Leonie Noble



SRL IPA: Southern Rock Lobster Planning and Management for a National Research Development & Extension (RD&E) Program

Southern Rocklobster Ltd

Ross Hodge



Create a matrix of skills and capability building priorities across FRDC partners and advisory groups

AgriFood Skills Australia

Ross Ord



ACPF IPA: Australian wild caught prawn sector RD&E management and communication

Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries Ltd

Rachel King



Seafood with ET

Escape Productions Group

Andrew Ettinghausen



RAC NT: Stakeholder engagement – Research & Development priorities

ABC Corporate Development

Katherine Du Vallon



Digital documentation of Australian Barramundi and Prawns Farms Across Australia

Australian Barramundi Farmers Association

Matthew Blyth


Projects TBC

Future Oysters CRC-P program

CRC-P Partners




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