Table of contents
Research priorities


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Seafood Industry Australia (SIA)

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) has been approved by Minister Ruston as a new FRDC Representative Organisation.  The declaration of National Seafood Industry Alliance (NSIA) as a representative organisation has been revoked by Minister Ruston.  FRDC has three other representative organisations: Recfish Australia, National Aquaculture Council, and Commonwealth Fisheries Association.  FRDC will continue to consult with NSIA and the Indigenous Reference Group. 


Seafood Industry Australia is the new national peak body which represents the Australian seafood industry as a whole.  SIA is chaired by Veronica Papacosta, and Jane Lovell is the inaugural Chief Executive Officer.  For more information see



FRDC Call for Applications


The FRDC November Call for Applications has been finalised and can be viewed here. There are a total of 34 priorities nominated by the FRDC’s jurisdictional Research Advisory Committees (RACs), Industry Partnership Agreements (IPAs) and Subprograms.



All EOIs MUST be completed via FishNet. Refer to the FRDC website for more information on the FRDC’s process for Applying for Funding. Applications must be finalised by the 15th of February 2018.



FRDC Stakeholder Workshop

The summary report of the 2017 FRDC’s Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop is now available. Note all workshop presentations can also be viewed on the 2017 workshop webpage.


The Stakeholder Workshop, held in August, provided a forum for representatives of each RAC, IPA, Subprogram and Representative Organisation to discuss research priorities and identify potential collaborative opportunities for co-investment in research that will have multi-jurisdictional and/or national benefit.



A key output of the workshop was the identification of ‘high-level’ cross-cutting priority areas that were relevant among the workshop attendees. These priority areas included:

  1. Biosecurity and Food Safety;
  2. Data;
  3. People and Capacity;
  4. Animal Welfare; and
  5. Community Engagement, Social License, Branding of Industry.


The workshop attendees worked to define targeted RD&E activities for each of the high-level priority areas, focusing on potential collaborative opportunities for such projects. The FRDC is now collaborating with key stakeholders and research partners to progress these targeted RD&E activities.



Seafood Sustainability and Community Reporting

FRDC has commenced a trial of an online business to business risk assessment tool “Whichfish” ( to assist businesses rapidly screen wild caught species for their relative environmental risks and other performance measures (by fishery and management jurisdiction) based on publicly available information.   This site will become live in December.


Whichfish was developed in conjunction with Seafood NZ – with their version now online at  The intent is to have this tool to be benchmarked against Global Sustainable


Seafood Initiative (GSSI). Twenty commercially important species are included for each country.



The Australian Fisheries Management Standards project (2015-203) is progressing well and it is anticipated that a set of best practice fisheries management guidelines will be complete by the end of the year.  Australia – like New Zealand – has developed Australian Fisheries Science Guidelines (2014-009).  The future goal is to develop these into an Australian Fisheries Science Standard. 


Phase 2 of the Healthcheck project (2016-060) will be identifying social, economic and other indicators (such as Greenhouse Gas emissions) for Australian fisheries that will be made available to a range of users. These outputs could then be considered for incorporation into Whichfish.   



Status of Australia Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports Update

The SAFS Advisory Group met on 30 October 2017 in Melbourne to progress SAFS 2018. Items discussed included:

  • amendments to the classification system;
  • defining negligible catch and its use;
  • reducing the number of undefined species (including workshops with each jurisdiction providing training in data limited methodology);
  • how to provide scientific evidence on stock status in the absence of a published stock assessment report;
  • authorship and contracting;
  • the inclusion of Indigenous case studies to be investigated via a pilot of a number of finfish, molluscs and crustaceans;
  • project timeline and reporting; and
  • a presentation on a potential future project on bycatch reporting.


The SAFS 2018 Stock Status Classification System has been amended as follows:



Stock status


Potential implications for management of the stock



Biomass (or proxy) is at a level sufficient to ensure that, on average, future levels of recruitment are adequate (recruitment is not impaired) and for which fishing mortality (or proxy) is adequately controlled to avoid the stock becoming recruitment impaired (overfishing is not occurring)

Appropriate management is in place



Biomass (or proxy) is not yet depleted and recruitment is not yet impaired, but fishing mortality (or proxy) is too high (overfishing is occurring) and moving the stock in the direction of becoming recruitment impaired.

Management is needed to reduce fishing mortality and ensure that the biomass does not become depleted.



Biomass (or proxy) is depleted and recruitment is impaired, but management measures are in place to promote stock recovery, and recovery is occurring.

Appropriate management is in place, and there is evidence that the biomass is recovering.



Biomass (or proxy) has been reduced through catch and/or non-fishing effects, such that recruitment is impaired. Current management is not adequate to recover the stock, or adequate management measures have been put in place but have not yet resulted in measurable improvements.

Management is needed to recover this stock; if adequate management measures are already in place, more time may be required for them to take effect.


The 2016 SAFS reports can be viewed at



Australian Marine Parks

The Australian Government has released for final public comment draft management plans for the establishment and management of 44 new Australian Marine Parks in Commonwealth waters – taking the total to 58.  For more information see  When the plans are finalised early next year, the total area of marine parks in Australian waters will be 40.5% of the total marine area – 3,014,429 km2 (


Marine Seismic Testing Activity

Over the past 12 months, FRDC has informally co-ordinated industry discussions around seismic impacts on the marine environment, facilitating teleconferences between jurisdictions where necessary to enable industry to be across what is occurring in this space.   Points of conversation between jurisdictions include how to best engage with petroleum companies as they prepare their Environmental Plans (EP) as part of the broader submission process to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) as well how the $14M, 3 year AIMS project may further address seismic based research questions that fishing and aquaculture industry may have.   Following on from the most recent informal meeting of jurisdictions, it was outlined that a co-ordination program structure may be the best method to address seismic research priorities going forward.   Further, Seafood Industry Australia has nominated seismic as a one of the possible national issues it will be addressing.  WAFIC has nominated Mannie Shea as the lead for this proposed program.   Mannie has experience in the petroleum industry and will be well placed to lead the proposed program.   FRDC has sponsored 2 industry representatives, Aaron Irving and Johnathon Davey to attend the World Ocean Conference to present a paper on seismic research and industry responses.   As well as raising awareness of this issue internationally, the goal is to improve our international networks to improve collaboration.


Commercial Inshore Fisheries Subprogram

During Seafood Directions, FRDC met with the Executive Officers from the State based wild catch industry councils to progress research needs in inshore areas as they relate to resource sharing. It was agreed at the meeting that the issue of resource allocation and access should be excluded and the focus be on taking advantage of sharing existing knowledge and opportunities, developing new opportunities and trial initiatives such as new technology.  The timing is right for this initiative as the leaders in the industry councils are instigating a range of measures to either reform or change the practises of these fisheries.  FRDC is investing in many of these activities from developing markets for NSW finfish in China to community based fisheries digital platforms.  The opportunity to partner across jurisdictions and accelerate these developments is the purpose of this proposed new subprogram.  The source of funds for this activity are planned to come from funds in the National Priority Two – “Improving productivity and profitability of fishing and aquaculture”. 


The next stage in the development of a Subprogram is to run a small workshop of the industry councils (early 2018) to develop a terms of reference and finalise the Governance Committee. At this workshop, each industry council will outline the activities that they are undertaking in the inshore space and what activities are in the pipeline. From this a shortlist of activities will be developed that can form the basis of a priority list/strategic plan which could become shared pilot projects.


Resource Access and Allocation Audit

The FRDC has approved a small project to be undertaken by Fishwell 2017-122 “Review of fishery resource access and allocation arrangements across Australian jurisdictions”.   This project has the following objectives:

  1. Define the elements (i.e. units to which resource access is allocated) of access and allocation
  2. Review available information and provide examples of allocation and access in Australian fisheries jurisdictions and other industries
  3. Describe the tools available for access and allocation and how they are implemented in each jurisdiction
  4. Identify jurisdictional gaps and differences and recommend potential tools / options to fill those gaps.


Summaries by jurisdiction will be completed followed by a cross jurisdictional analysis.   The project will also scope access and allocation examples from other sectors as a comparison.   The project is intended to complete by May 2018.   The recent AFMF Fisheries Managers meeting identified this as one of three areas of focus for this sub-committee – this group is led by Bryan MacDonald (NT Fisheries).   FRDC will ensure the project team consult with this sub-committee and also Seafood Industry Australia, IRG and the recreational fishing sector.


Under-Utilised Fisheries Review

FRDC has supported numerous projects that have sought to investigate the feasibility of creating commercial seafood opportunities from currently under-utilised wild-caught fish species. Before investing additional funds in projects of this nature, FRDC requires an evaluation of past projects to determine the factors behind their success or failure. This analysis will then provide the basis for a decision matrix that can be used by project applicants and FRDC staff to design/evaluate future projects.


Len Stephens has been engaged to do this work and is developing a project with the following objectives:

  • To collate summary of all under-utilised species projects supported by FRDC, and an analysis of lessons learned from each project.
  • To list success criteria to be used as guidance for future applicants in preparing their projects and by FRDC in evaluating them.

White Spot Disease Update

Final report for the Senate Inquiry “Biosecurity risks associated with the importation of seafood and seafood products (including uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat) into Australia” has now been tabled (31 October 2017) – see

The report has no recommendations that are research related. For more information refer the FRDC’s website /white-spot-disease - the community perception study on white spot disease and how it has impacted on consumer’s perception of the safety of eating prawns.

The Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram facilitated a stakeholder RD&E planning workshop for responding to the white spot disease.  Potential research projects identified during the workshop included:

  • Improved diagnostics
  • Nuclear breeding centre
  • Epidemiology
  • Chemical use permits
  • Industry training
  • Gamma-irradiation of bait prawns
  • FRDC Project proposal 2017-078: Investigations into transmission of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV)
  • Bait & burley use and disposal
  • Diseases in non-prawn crustaceans
  • Viability of disease agents in cooked prawns
  • On-farm biosecurity standards
  • Assessment of disinfection and disposal methods


A final report will be available shortly.


Animal Welfare

The Australian seafood supply chain supports a policy of ensuring best welfare practises are implemented.  Industry are focusing on improving how fishing companies are implementing the agreed codes of practise see /aquatic-animal-welfare. Consideration is being given to the development of a risk assessment tool for the live fish trade.



FRDC is again being considered as one of the agencies to be nominated by DAWR for the government’s decentralisation inquiry.  FRDC had previously provided DAWR with the information they required for its submissions.   


National Marine Science Committee Update

The National Marine Science Committee (NMSC) met in Canberra on Thursday 19 October. New NMSC members included Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC), and the Australian and New Zealand International Ocean Discovery Program Consortium (ANZIC).


The meeting focused on progress of the Working Groups tasked to implement the NMS Plan, specifically: science program to support decision-making (David Smith CSIRO); marine baselines and long-term monitoring (David Souter); research training (Erika Techera); national ocean modelling system (Tim Moltmann, IMOS); and marine ecosystems processes and resilience (Peter Steinberg). The implementation of the plan is progressing ( ).


Members provided updates of undertakings within their respective departments/agencies. Key points of interest to the FRDC include:

  • The NMSC will sponsor a small technical workshop to bring together people who are interested in mapping ideas on image analysis, notably (i) Fish ID on boats; (ii) Shark and dugong drone ID; (iii) Drone Fisheries assessments; (iv) High volume storage; etc
  • Roger Proctor (IMOS) discussed the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) research data cloud which has public access to data and good metadata. NMSC members were invited to provide feedback to continually improve the AODN. Roger will be chairing a workshop with industry on data sharing
  • Barbara Musso is the new Facilities Program Director for the Marine National Facility.
  • The build of the new ice breaker is well underway (keel laid) and school children have named her RSV Nuyina (Indigenous for Southern Lights)

The idea of forming a subcommittee/working group under the NMSC to address interaction with Marine Mammals was raised. The idea was supported in principal.


eSA-Marine System Launched by SA Fisheries Minister - funded by FRDC


“OCEAN currents can now be forecast in real-time and high resolution, with the development of a revolutionary new mapping system.  The eSA-Marine website provides fishers, surfers, emergency services and marine personnel with forecasts of sea level, water temperature, ocean currents and wind direction and speed.  The SA developed technology can be accessed from any computer or mobile device and will be used for a range of purposes such as predicting extreme ocean conditions, maintenance of aquaculture sites and planning ship routes.  The website uses real-time satellite data to capture ocean forecasts ranging from Portland, Victoria, to Thevenard in South Australia’s west, and includes gulfs, shelves and deep waters of the continental slope.”


This development also has a separate tool for SBT commercial fishers to predict migratory pathways for SBT across SA waters. 


Funding Opportunities

FRDC is currently involved in the development of multiple initiatives that leverage the investment for both FRDC and its stakeholders (i.e. Cooperative Research Centre bids, Australian Research Council projects or Rural R&D for Profit Programme projects). The progress of such initiatives are detailed below.


Cooperative Research Centres (CRC)


Australian Research Council

  • ARC Industrial Transformation and Training Centre – Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy: The FRDC is supporting an ARC ITTC program bid led by UTAS. There are also contributions from industry partners (Tassal, Petuna); government partners (DPIPWE, EPA Tas, SARDI, AFMA) and University partners (UTAS, Uni of Adelaide).


Rural R&D for Profit Programme

  • The fourth round of the Rural R&D for Profit Programme has not yet opened, with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources conducting a review of the programme to date.


National Carp Control Plan (NCCP)

The National Carp Control Plan (NCCP) continues to meet its objectives across all program areas. The NCCP research program commenced in June 2017, and research projects are making strong progress.   With the research program underway, the program’s primary focus has shifted to stakeholder engagement, with a ‘travelling roadshow’ of community workshops in progress across all Natural Resource Management Zones inhabited by carp.


Research and Technology

The second Principal Investigator Workshop was held in October 2017, enabling NCCP researchers to deliver project updates and discuss interdependencies with other project teams.   Of particular note, the NCCP carp biomass estimation project (2016-152) is a ‘hub’ project that will need to feed data and information out to a range of other projects, including the epidemiological modelling project (2016-170), risk assessment project (2017-054), and community and stakeholder attitude surveys (2016-152).   Maintaining progress with the carp biomass estimation project is therefore critical for timely completion of the research program.   The biomass project team has taken an impressive approach to cross-jurisdictional coordination and development of statistically-rigorous sampling designs, and are about to begin fieldwork on schedule this summer.


Preliminary results from several NCCP research projects have also begun to shape development of the National Carp Control Plan.   In particular, preliminary results from project 2016-152 (community and stakeholder attitude surveys, principal investigator Associate Professor Jacki Schirmer of the University of Canberra) have identified three key points upon which community support for the Plan will depend:

  • Support for the Plan will be contingent upon the extent to which the magnitude of uncertainty and risk involved in carp biocontrol are perceived to be clearly and transparently communicated.
  • The Plan will need to provide for an integrated suite of carp control measures, rather than advocate for virus release as a stand-alone measure.
  • The Plan will need to ensure that opportunities for environmental rehabilitation resulting from carp reduction are utilised to the greatest possible extent.


Policy, legislation, and regulation

Processes for seeking regulatory approvals and ensuring that prescribed research and assessment requirements are being addressed at both state and Federal levels remains on target.   Federally, approvals under the APVMA Act, EPBC Act and Biosecurity Act continue to progress.   The NCCP application under the APVMA Act has passed preliminary assessment (27 July 2017, application number 111748), and results for a final assessment under this act are on track to be incorporated into the final NCCP.


Approval under the Biosecurity Act 2015 continues to remain on hold, pending the outcomes of assessments under the EPBC Act and APVMA Act.   The outcomes from the assessments under each of these Acts will largely inform the decision whether or not to release the carp virus from biosecurity control under the Biosecurity Act 2015.


State representatives on the NCCP Policy Advisory Group (PAG) have reported and demonstrated significant progress identifying and assessing the regulatory requirements for their jurisdiction to support the NCCP.   To date, no legislative change has been identified as being necessary at the state or territory level in order to support the development of the NCCP.


Communications and engagement


NCCP Website

The NCCP website ( forms an engaging, up-to-date hub for digital communications.   During the reporting period 1 July 2017 to 23 October 2017, 2,199 unique users from 33 countries visited the NCCP website.   Australia represented 90% of the audience, with the United States at 4%, followed by South Korea, Brazil, China, the UK and Japan. 40% of users were returning visitors.   The most visited page was ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, followed by ‘The Carp Problem’ and ‘Consultation’.


Stakeholder workshops and public briefing meeting

The first phase of these regional consultation workshops started on October 16 and will run through until February 2018.   There are 41 regional workshops confirmed across affected areas (in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, the ACT and Tasmania) which are likely to have an interest in the NCCP.  Each of the 41 locations will host an invitation only stakeholder workshop and a community briefing session.   This exceeds the 30 stakeholder consultation workshops initially set due to affected NRM zones providing feedback to the NCCP that more areas needed to be covered to ensure relevant stakeholders are engaged. To date, workshops have been held in 11 locations across Victoria and Southern NSW, with positive results.


Key events 2018



More information

16-18 February

Apollo Bay Seafood Festival


19-21 February

19th International Conference on Shellfish Restoration and Shellfish Reef Restoration Network Meeting

19-22 February

Aquaculture America 2018

6-7 March

ABARES Outlook Conference

6-8 March

National Seafood Industry Leadership Program – First residential

8 March

International Women’s Day


Sustainable Seafood Day Australia




Research Advisory Committee meetings

More information

8 March 2018

NSWRAC (by invitation)

See the FRDC website - /Partners/Research-Advisory-Committees


13 March 2018

SARAC (by invitation)

14 March 2018

NTRAC (by invitation)

20 March 2018

QLDRAC (by invitation)

22 March 2018

COMRAC (by invitation)

27 March 2018

WARAC (by invitation)

28 March 2018

VICRAC (by invitation)

5 April 2018

TASRAC (by invitation)



FRDC board meeting dates

27 to 28 Feb 2018

FRDC Board Meeting, Melbourne

02 6285 0400


See the FRDC website for more events (/en/Media-and-Publications/Events).


Key new projects approved since last update in August 2017

NOTE: may not yet be contracted


Project Number



Principal Investigator

Total Exp ($)


Assessing the people and capability framework for the aquaculture industry

Huon Aquaculture

Tony Baker



NCCP: Communications Working Group (CWG)


Toby Piddocke



A re-examination of underlying model assumptions and resulting abundance estimates of the Fishery Independent Survey (FIS) in Australia’s SESSF

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Miriana Sporcic



Stock Connectivity of Antarctic Toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni)

Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)

Philippe Ziegler



ESD risk assessment for under-utilised species to facilitate structural reform of South Australia's commercial Marine Scalefish Fishery


Anthony Fowler



Long-term recovery of trawled marine communities 25 years after the world’s largest adaptive management experiment

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

John Keesing



Monitoring abalone juvenile abundance following removal of Centrostephanus and translocation

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Craig Mundy



Ensuring monitoring and management of bycatch in Southern Rock Lobster fisheries is best practice

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Rafael I. Leon



Improved risk management of paralytic shellfish toxins in Southern Rock Lobster

Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

Gustaaf Hallegraeff



Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics 2016


Robert Curtotti



Reducing bycatch using modifications to sweeps and lines anterior to the trawl mouth - collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark

IC Independent Consulting Pty Ltd

Steve Kennelly



Survival and growth rate of ranched greenlip abalone off South Australia


Owen Burnell



Modification of fishery assessment and modelling processes to better take account of changes in population structure, specifically animal size, on catch rate data.

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Klaas Hartmann



The evaluation of two species, Cobia and Giant Grouper, as alternative species to farm in the WSSV affected areas of South East Queensland.

Rocky Point Aquaculture Company Pty Ltd

Brad Cherrie



Communicating the research, management and performance of Tasmanian marine resource industries by video

Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

Caleb Gardner



Development of Fish Health Indicators for the Gladstone Harbour Report Card

CQUniversity (CQU) Gladstone

Nicole Flint



Elucidating the nutritional requirements of farmed hybrid abalone

Deakin University Warrnambool Campus

David S. Francis



Establish markets, transport techniques and handling methods for live export of octopus

Fremantle Octopus Pty Ltd

Stuart Nisbet



An assessment of the non-market value of landed fish from the Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) recreational fishery


Kasia Mazur



Fisheries managers workshop

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)

Claire Andersen



People Development Program: Indigenous development scholarship - Culture based fisheries training course in Vietnam


Jo-Anne Ruscoe



Review of fishery resource access and allocation arrangements across Australian jurisdictions

Fishwell Consulting Pty Ltd

Ian Knuckey



The role of the recreational fisher in the stewardship of the SBT fishery

Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

Sean Tracey



Developing a new five year Strategic Plan for RD&E Investment in the Australian wild harvest abalone industry

Abalone Council Australia Ltd

Dean M. Lisson



Catch the Drift - Extension of FRDC Project 2016-401

Rural Training Initiatives Pty Ltd

Jill Briggs



Ensuring that fishing and seafood industry focused RD&E delivers improved economic, environmental and social benefits to Australia’s Indigenous people – IRG and Indigenous Subprogram Support

C-AID Consultants

Chris E. Calogeras



The right conversations: Identifying optimal stakeholder engagement and evaluation practices for fisheries

ENVision Environmental Consulting

Nicki Mazur



Progressing the National Fisheries Digital Data Framework - Industry consultation

Seafood Industry Victoria Inc

Johnathon Davey



SOCo Financial Strategy Workshop November 17th 2017

Select Oyster Company Pty Ltd

Emma Wilkie



Understanding the Markets for Western Rock Lobster (Phase 1 Market Intelligence)

Western Rock Lobster Council Inc (WRLC)

Matt H. Taylor



Sustainable Ocean Summit 2017, Seismic Coordination


Aaron Irving



Pilot - Development of Seafood Nutritional Panels

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)

Andrew Forrest



Building an evidence base: The point of order experience for seafood consumers

Intuitive Solutions

Michael Sparks



Develop a strong current warning system and inform knowledge of the nearshore current regime influencing the Western Rock Lobster fishery

University of Western Australia (UWA)

Charitha Pattiaratchi



FRDC sponsorship International Symposium for Genetics in Aquaculture XIII

James Cook University (JCU)

Dean Jerry



SafeFish 2018- 2021


Alison Turnbull



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