Table of contents
Research priorities

Download a PDF version of the December 2018 Stakeholder Briefing


Call for applications

The FRDC November Call for Applications has been finalised and can be viewed here. There are a total of 24 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 2019.

FRDC Staff changes

Most of you will have heard the news that Annette Lyons will be leaving the FRDC at the end of the year to enjoy some well-earned time with her family and new grandchild. Annie has been a consistent figure in the FRDC since 1994 and has seen many changes, many projects and many PIs. Annie will be sorely missed and we are sure you will all join us in wishing her well in this next stage of life.


With Annie’s departure there is an unfillable hole left, however, there are some changes to capture Annie’s role. Leah Fergusson (who works in the Adelaide office) will be conducting parts of Annie’s role including project agreements, processing invoices and being the first point of contact at Please welcome Leah when you get the pleasure in having her answer your phone calls and emails, and feel free to get in touch if you have any queries.

New FRDC directors

Five new directors were appointed to the FRDC Board by the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, The Hon. David Littleproud MP, in October 2018. This expands the Board from eight to nine members.


The new directors are Kate Brooks, Saranne Cooke, Mark King, John Lloyd, and Katina (Katie) Hodson-Thomas. Two members of the previous Board, Lesley MacLeod and Colin Buxton, have been reappointed. Patrick Hone remains as managing director and Ron Boswell will stay on as chair.


The FRDC Chair Ron Boswell thanked the outgoing directors are Renata Brooks, John Harrison, Daryl McPhee and John Susman for their hard work and service in overseeing the first three years of the FRDC’s Research, Development and Extension Plan for 2015–2020.

Annual Report

The FRDC 2017-18 Annual Report was tabled in Parliament on 27 November 2018. The report and a short summary is available from the Annual Reports page. It highlights that throughout the year the FRDC’s RD&E investment focused on promoting sustainability, improving productivity and profitability and growing aquaculture with many significant projects initiated and completed.


The key issues addressed during the year included: biosecurity, partly due the White Spot Syndrome Disease outbreak in South Queensland in 2016, and the subsequent review and development of the Emergency Aquatic Animal Disease Response Agreement. Various sectors including Atlantic Salmon, abalone, oysters and Barramundi will continue to focus on increasing biosecurity readiness to reduce future risks. Development of the National Carp Control Plan (NCCP) is well underway with research projects addressing key issues.


The FRDC investment in improving engagement with stakeholders has also started to pay dividends with the annual stakeholder survey showing the FRDC remained well regarded by stakeholders. Stakeholders were most satisfied with the approach taken to get information, make comment, and importantly, provide input into the areas where FRDC invested (therefore addressing key priorities).

The financial income target for the year was $36.23 million and the FRDC reached $36.00 million. One area where the FRDC did not meet its target was project expenditure at $26.00 million, which was less than the budgeted figure of $30.20 million.


The FRDC Board would like to thank the Australian Government and its stakeholders from across the commercial, recreational and Indigenous sectors for their continued support over the last year. Government and industry engagement play a vital role in ensuring high-quality research priorities are identified and addressed.


The Board thanked its representative organisations for their ongoing and valued collaboration. The success of the FRDC also depends on the contributions of many other bodies and agencies, including:

  • Peak and representative bodies (from all sectors),

  • Commonwealth, state and territory fisheries management and research agencies,

  • Research Advisory Committees,

  • the FRDC’s Subprogram and coordination leaders and their committees,

  • the many researchers and consultants who work on FRDC projects, and

  • the numerous interested people and seafood consumers FRDC engages with.

Annual Stakeholder Workshop

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, and the workshop attendees worked to define potential collaborative research priorities. The FRDC is now collaborating with key stakeholders and research partners to progress these targeted RD&E activities.


The summary report of the 2018 FRDC’s Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop is now available. All workshop presentations can also be viewed on the 2018 workshop webpage.

Ernst and Young Vision for Rural Innovation in Australia

Ernst and Young is leading a project to create a shared vision for the future of the agricultural innovation system and enable opportunities for a vibrant agricultural sector. The vision will be designed through engagement with stakeholders who were involved in the consultation.


The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, in conjunction with Ernst & Young (EY), will undertake a comprehensive consultation process with stakeholders across the agricultural innovation system, including research providers, rural research and development corporations, industry representatives, governments, investors, start-ups and accelerators, producers, grower and farm systems groups, processors and retailers.


For Further Information see:

Council of Rural RDCs – Vision 2050

Through the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations, the RDCs have been developing a vision for the future of Australia’s rural innovation system.



  • Develop and implement a national framework to drive a globally-connected, high-performing and effective knowledge and innovation ecosystem

  • Develop and implement a national, integrated, whole-of-government strategy for an enhanced agrisystem.

More information on this activity will be posted on the CCRDC website:

People Development Subprogram Review

Anwen Lovett has been appoint to undertake a review of FRDC’s People Development Subprogram with the view to improve the program (2018-149). FRDC is interested in hearing any views as to ‘What should be the underpinning strategy for FRDC’s people development program’. Contact Anwen Lovett to provide input into this review:

Independent Performance Review of FRDC Completed

The FRDC is required under its 2015-19 Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth Government, to engage an independent organisation to undertake a comprehensive review of its performance by 2 December 2018. The FRDC board agreed to the terms of reference with the Department in Sep 2017 and Foresthill Consulting (led by Scott Williams) was selected to undertake the review.   As part of the review Foresthill Consulting undertook a number of face-to-face interviews, as well as seeking broader stakeholder feedback. The report was completed and provided to the Department for consideration.


The Review and the FRDC Board response to the review can be found on the funding agreement page.


The review made the following 10 recommendations:






Based on a new RD&E plan, future FRDC AOPs should:

Simplify key targets per area of investment; and

Continue the refinement of management / governance targets that are more relevant to organisational performance (e.g. milestones achieved on time, contract turnaround times etc).



FRDC should develop, produce and promote to stakeholders a stand-alone performance report that summarises the FRDC’s key outputs and impacts relative to targets in its RD&E plan and AOP on an annual basis.



During the development of the next RD&E plan, FRDC should review the way it organises and manages its RD&E program (its investment and evaluation framework) with the aim of simplifying it so that it is easily understood by the average stakeholder.



The FRDC Board should consider options to assist it in its role in respect to RD&E, one of which would be the creation of a Research Committee of the Board.

Better practice


The FRDC Board should consider creating a People and Culture Committee of the Board to formalise the succession planning process for all senior management, including the MD, to recommend the remuneration of the MD, and to develop a board skills matrix.

Better practice


FRDC should develop a deeper understanding of risk appetite and risk tolerance across the key risk areas in line with new risk policy and ensure that this is monitored regularly by the FARM Committee. Risk appetite should be set by the Board with tolerances agreed between the Board and management.

Better practice


FRDC should strengthen its approach to extension, possibly by creating a specific position to oversee or coordinate extension across the organisation.

Better practice


FRDC should continue to conduct ex-post impact assessments of randomly selected projects as planned. The focus for FRDC should be on communicating the results to stakeholders using clear, simple language, as it did in its Annual Report 2016-17. FRDC could consider preparing and publicly releasing a short performance evaluation report each year, which would include results against its key performance indicators as well as the results from the impact assessments.

Better practice


FRDC should explore with its impact assessment provider the feasibility of providing in the impact assessment reports more detailed commentary on the likely distribution of benefits from the project clusters between regions and/or sectors of the Australian fisheries sector.

Better practice


FRDC should develop and implement with its impact assessment provider a project to assess willingness-to-pay studies of environmental attributes of fishery resources and externalities arising from aquaculture as input into future assessments of the environmental impacts of FRDC’s Environment Program.

Better practice


Fish 2.0 – Regional hub of seafood entrepreneurs and investors

Australia’s first FISH 2.0 workshop, held in Melbourne in October, was attended by 16 groups of seafood entrepreneurs. In addition, 40+ investors and seafood experts attending the associated investor pitch session. The FISH 2.0 event provided expert advice to entrepreneurs on how to present (‘pitch’) their ventures to potential investors or partners, and was successful in launching commercial partnerships among several participants.


The event was facilitate by Fish 2.0, a US organisation that works to connect sustainable seafood ventures with investors through regional workshops and a global online competition for seafood entrepreneurs. Sponsored by the FRDC, the event is part of a long-term plan to build an innovation investment network for the seafood sector, which also includes the FRDC’s business incubator program Fish-X.


A second, larger Australia–Asia-Pacific regional event is scheduled for Brisbane in March 2019. It will include opportunities for Australian ventures that have competed online in FISH 2.0 to pitch to a broad group of investors from Australia, the Pacific Islands and South-East Asia.

Sign up for the online competition or to receive news about the Brisbane event at the FISH 2.0 website (


All ventures that qualify through the online competition will be invited to join the FISH 2.0 global online connection platform to connect with business partners and investors. Top-scoring finalists will also be invited to pitch at the FISH 2.0 Global Innovation Forum in Silicon Valley in late 2019.

There is no cost to participate in the online competition.

Status of Australian Fish Stock Reports (SAFS) Update

The Status of Australian Fish Stock Reports (SAFS) will be launched in March 2019 to coincide with the ‘2019 ABARES Outlook Conference’ In addition to the SAFS 2018 website, the launch will include a new SAFS app that will make access to stock status information simpler and more accessible to a broader range of stakeholders. The timing of the launch is a strategic decision to ensure best possible media coverage and to allow the SAFS app to be completed.  Author teams and external peer reviewers have been working diligently to deliver the reports for the 120+ species/species complexes.

FRDC Seafood Industry Safety & Welfare National Strategy – project SeSAFE update

A key component of the FRDC’s Seafood Industry Safety & Welfare National Strategy is project “SeSAFE – Delivering Industry Safety through Electronic Learning” (2017-194). SeSAFE was established to develop electronic learning modules to facilitate the uptake of knowledge required for an improved culture of safety awareness, including general workplace safety requirements under workplace health and safety legislation.


Since the project’s inception, the Principle Investigator, Steve Eayrs, has been raising industry’s awareness of SeSAFE, meeting and speaking with all stakeholder groups, engaging with media, and developing the dedicated project website ( In addition, three project videos have been produced, and can be accessed at:,, and


To date, the project has advanced the development of the ‘SeSAFE Learning Management System (LMS)’, currently comprising 22 generic learning modules. Interest and adoption of the LMS has been excellent, with company’s/sectors using them to provide safety training to fishers. There is also interest from multiple fishing organisations to develop LMSs that comprises a blend of generic and fishery-specific modules – these are expected to be operational in early 2019.


For more information, refer to the SeSAFE dedicated website -

United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)

Australia has taken the lead as one of nine nations assisting the UN in preparation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The  Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) aims to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean. Russell Reichelt has been appointed as Australia’s lead for this UN activity. For further information see:

National Seafood Industry Leadership Program applications open

Applications for the 2019 National Seafood Industry Leadership Program (NSILP) are now open and will close on 17 January 2019.

The program runs over six months and involves three, three-day residential sessions as well as ongoing work on team projects. Two programs will run in 2019, the first beginning on 5 March and the second beginning on 7 May. The NSILP is funded by the FRDC, Sydney Fish Market and Austral Fisheries. For more information and to apply contact Jill Briggs at

Have your say on the WFC2020 program

Australia will host the World Fisheries Congress 2020 (WFC2020) in Adelaide from 11 to 15 October 2020. The International Program Committee is calling for expressions of interest to lead sessions, symposia, and education and training workshops.


Commercial, recreational and Indigenous sector-led sessions, as well as student-led sessions, are encouraged. The WFC2020 program aims to test current thinking and practices, identify opportunities to enhance global fisheries, and address the challenges of fishing sustainably and maintaining prosperous fishing communities.


Applicants are encouraged to think beyond traditional approaches and consider alternatives to the normal conference formats (such as interactive ‘Ask me anything’ sessions, light-speed presentations, fishbowl panel discussions, debates, workshops).


Email the committee with ideas or suggestions at by 31 January 2019

National Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry Social and Economic Contributions Project

The FRDC’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Contributions project is underway.


The goal of this project is to gather the information required to support the Australian fisheries and aquaculture industry to “tell its story” of its contributions to the national, state and regional economies and communities.


Phase 1 of the project (2017-210) is stand alone and will focus on the economic contributions at the national and state/territory level of commercial fisheries and aquaculture. The project aims to:

  • Estimate the contribution to the Australian (i.e. national) economy of total commercial fisheries and aquaculture activity using standard measures of economic contribution

  • Estimate the contribution to each State/Territory"s economy of commercial fisheries and aquaculture activity using standard measures of economic contribution

  • Develop a robust and nationally-consistent framework and guidelines to support data collection and estimation of contributions (and, potentially, impact) in the future

Two working papers have been completed to date, with input from all relevant State, Territory and Commonwealth agencies and research providers. These papers are now available on the FRDC project website: /project/2017-210 


1. Identification and Critical Assessment of Recent Contributions Reports

2. Data Needs and Data Availability for a National Contributions Study


A second project will develop and analyse a series of case study projects focusing a wider range of social and economic contributions to different regions and from specific sub-sectors. Planning for the case studies is underway. Contact Kirsten Abernethy if you would like to discuss developing a potential case study.


Key events 2018/2019



More information

10-14 December

Fish Passage 2018 – International Conference on River Connectivity

19-20 February

AgriFutures evokeAG

6-7 March

ABARES Outlook Conference

17-19 March

Seafood EXPO North America (Boston)


Fish 2.0 – Brisbane

7-9 May

Seafood EXPO Global (Brussels, Belgium)

7-11 July

AMSA Annual Conferences "Marine Science for a Blue Economy" (Fremantle)

30-31 July

Trans-Tasman Abalone/Paua Convention (Hobart)

8-9 August

New Zealand Seafood Conference

11-13 August

Trans-Tasman Rock Lobster Congress (Queenstown, NZ)

9-11 October

Seafood Directions (Melbourne)


Dates for seafood festivals for 2019 can be found on the FRDC FishFiles website


FRDC Board meeting dates and locations



26-27 February


16-17 April

Port Stephens

11-12 June


13-14 August




FRDC RAC Meeting dates


Research Advisory Committee meetings

More information


Queensland RAC

See the FRDC website -



South Australian RAC


Western Australian RAC


Commonwealth RAC


Northern Territory RAC


Victorian RAC


Tasmanian RAC


New South Wales RAC


Key new projects approved since last update in September 2018

NOTE: may not yet be contracted


Project Number







Empirical Investigation of Demand Conditions and Dynamics in the South East Fishery

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Sean Pascoe



Recreational fishing and human wellbeing: insights from existing data and development of best practice approaches to future measurement

University of Canberra

Jacki Schirmer



National tropical oyster aquaculture workshop - Darwin 2018

Department of Primary Industry and Resources (NT)

Matthew Osborne



Implementation workshop for the effective adoption of the outcomes from the SESSF Declining Indicators project

Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)

George Day



Verification program for the use of "Rapid Test Kits" to safeguard and grow the WA Shellfish Industry

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) WA

Michael Pengelly



FRDC communication of evidence-based information on the healthfulness and sustainability of seafood to Health Professionals

Professional Nutrition Services

Gabrielle O"Kane



Western Australian based Institute for Spiny Lobster Research Business Plan

Western Rock Lobster Council Inc (WRLC)

Matt H. Taylor



Sex reversal and sex differentiation in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Deakin University Warrnambool Campus

Luis O. Afonso



Understanding Ostreid herpesvirus type 1 risk: alternative hosts and in situ hybridisation

Flinders University

Peter Speck



Fast-track validation of pond-side test kits for use on farms and in regions

SARDI Adelaide

Sarah R. Catalano



Reinvigorating the Queensland Oyster Industry

Griffith University Nathan Campus

Carmel McDougall



Evaluation of practical technologies for Perfluoroalkyl (PFA) remediation in marine fish hatcheries

NSW Department Of Primary Industries

Wayne O"Connor



People development review

Anwen Lovett Consulting

Anwen Lovett



Completing Australia’s First National Bycatch Report

IC Independent Consulting Pty Ltd

Steve J. Kennelly



Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics 2017

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR)

Robert Curtotti



Assessment of the Inflamark method as a sensitive and cost-effective measure of oxidative stress in cultured fish

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) WA

Gavin J. Partridge



Planning, developing and coordinating national/regional research, development and extension (RD&E) for Australia"s recreational fishing community

Owen Li

Owen Li



Sharing and preserving knowledge through story

BushTV Enterprises

Thomas J. Hearn



Aquatic Animal Health Technical Forum and Training workshops

CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory

Lynette Williams



Attendance at the Annual Session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) - 4-9 December 2018 in Honolulu, USA

Narooma Seafood Direct

Hayley Abbott



Contribution to phase 2 of $100 billion growth strategy

AgriFutures Australia

Patrick Hone



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