Table of contents
Research priorities


Download pdf version of December Stakeholder Briefing 2020



2020 is a year that will be remembered for diverse reasons: fires we haven’t seen the like of for decades; an unprecedented global pandemic; trade tensions between major nations; and a US election, albeit on the other side of the planet that will have ramifications for Australia.

The repercussions will change how we work and relate to each other for a long time to come. It is hard to look back over the year and see more than the stress, the challenges and, for many, the loss. Hardest of all to comprehend and deal with is the apparent randomness of it all, the vagaries of the impacts. Why did the fires and the coronavirus affect some people, houses, businesses and communities, but missed others right beside them?

Nonetheless, the community spirit remains strong and resilient. Many gave time, money and products to those in need.

We found ourselves reaching out to friends, family and stakeholders. Instead of just ‘business as usual’, this contact took a deeper meaning and broke the dimension of isolation that many people were feeling – especially for those doing a 14-day quarantine. As some normalcy returns to life in Australia and the year comes to an end, the FRDC looks back at what has been achieved, which is a summarised in the FRDC Annual Report for 2019-20.

This year, we can be thankful for:

  • the many health workers and emergency services personnel who work across Australia and the world. This year has been tough for them and we give our thanks;
  • our collective physical and mental health. We think of those who have dealt with disease and loss through the year;
  • the seafood producers, and other primary producers, who supplied our glorious food. For many, the year has been tough, but they have persevered, and for that we give thanks;
  • our wonderful weather. Last year, we were in the midst of savage drought and facing fire storms. This year, we think of all the wondrous rain and revel in the life it has brought across Australia;
  • the technology that connects us each and every day with our customers, stakeholders and friends. We can be grateful that this year we swapped ready-to-go overnight travel bags for Zoom, Teams, and Facetime meetings, but that the end is now in sight and we can get back to seeing each other face-to-face;
  • the freedoms we cherish so much in Australia, and the fact that our communities are resilient enough to endure temporary restrictions to save and protect those who are most at risk;
  • our families and friends, and even acquaintances who we recognise in passing with a smile and a nod. While we may not know each other that well, we give thanks knowing that if we were in real trouble all would lend a hand; and lastly,
  • looking to the future and what it will bring: a vaccine, travel and plenty of seafood.

Enjoy the holiday break and wishing all those who like to wet a line good fishing.

Australian Seafood this Christmas… it’s Easy As!

In November, Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) launched the national flagship brand, Great Australian Seafood, and its first marketing campaign, ‘Easy As’. Combined, these mark the start of an initiative designed to help the seafood industry build a long-term relationship with domestic consumers. It aims to inspire a generational shift in attitude towards seafood consumption and the industry, and to encourage people to eat more Australian seafood. It does this by showcasing how simple it is to cook seafood and incorporate it regularly into all Australians diet.

Simplicity is at the heart of the SIA led campaign, aiming to harness public support for local produce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 12-month ‘Easy As’ campaign funded by the Australian Government via a $4 million marketing grant as part of the $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund will engage consumers a number of times over its life. Activities include consumer-facing advertising across all regional and metro TV and streaming platforms, and out-of-home advertising including shopping centres, street furniture and roadside signage.

So, if you are looking for seafood this Christmas, think Australian, it’s Easy As!


The FRDC continues to monitor COVID-19 and its impacts. Any updates concerning on the COVID-19 page on the FRDC website.

The starting point for FRDC is the welfare and safety of the staff and our stakeholders.

Safety First - The FRDC is strongly committed to a policy that facilitates work activities being carried out safely, and that enables all possible measures to remove (or at least reduce) risks to the health, safety and welfare of all stakeholders and staff.

FRDC Stakeholder Survey – COVID-19 Report

Thank you to all those who participated in the FRDC Stakeholder Survey, which ran over the past several weeks. FRDC is currently working on a fishing and aquaculture focused COVID Impact Report which will be available late 2020 or early 2021. Data from a variety of resources are currently being assessed and reviewed and once completed the report will be published on the FRDC website.

Call for Expressions of Interest – Reminder

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) has a call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) to address research, development & extension (RD&E) priorities nominated by the FRDC. The nominated RD&E priorities for investment, more information on each and links to them are outlined below. More details on each can be found at /call-applications/november-2020-call-for-applications.


  • Quantifying inter-sectoral values within and among the Indigenous, commercial and recreational sectors – EOI due 6 December 2020
  • Abundance estimation toolbox
  • The circular economy in fishing and aquaculture – EOI due 6 December 2020
  • An audit of plastic use in the fishing and aquaculture sectors – EOI due 6 December 2020
  • An audit of energy use and carbon emissions in the Australian fishing and aquaculture sectors – EOI due 6 December 2020
  • Resolving stock uncertainty for priority species
  • Mitigating Threatened Endangered and Protected Species (TEPS) interactions with Australian Tuna longline fisheries
  • A synthesis of the efficacy of fisheries enhancement methods for integration into the fisheries management toolbox
  • Investigating re-opening closed shared access fisheries

Please note that each priority has a nominated due date for submission of the application. Please check the due date for the nominated priority you are preparing an application for.

Agricultural Innovation Australia

At its August meeting, the FRDC Board agreed to FRDC becoming a founding member of the proposed ‘Agricultural Innovation Company’. The FRDC will join forces with fifteen other Rural Research and Development Corporations to establish the company.

Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud said “AIA will capitalise on cross-industry opportunities to drive productivity, sustainability and profitability in agriculture by leveraging the power of collaboration. AIA will work with the private sector to attract investment, bringing new perspectives and players to agricultural innovation.

The FRDC is committed to deliver the R&D necessary to enable fishing and aquaculture contribute towards Australia’s primary industries being worth $100 billion by 2030. The primary reason the FRDC is involved with a company called ‘agriculture’ is because fishing and aquaculture need to be future-ready, and many of the major issues faced or will face are the same as those in other production sectors. This collaboration provides a way to leverage the combined research intelligence and needs of all the RDCs to find solutions.

AIA is well on the way to being established with Patrick Hone signing the constitution with acting Chair Andrew Ferguson this morning (Tuesday 1 December). Keep up to date with AIA by visiting their website -

Roadmaps for the Research and Development Plan

The FRDC has taken another step forward to refine the areas for future investment with the first stage of developing five Road Maps aligned to the key Outcomes of the FRDC R&D Plan 2020-2025. These Outcomes are:

  1. Growth for enduring prosperity;
  2. Best practices and production systems;
  3. A culture that is inclusive and forward thinking;
  4. Fair and secure access to aquatic resources; and
  5. Community trust, respect and value.

The FRDC experimented with an open-to-all engagement process with a series of five online workshops, canvasing input into the roadmaps. The roadmapping process used a reverse-engineering approach, working backwards from the desired outcome. For each specific R&D Plan Outcome, participants considered what results are needed to deliver success, what ‘deliverables’ or products might be needed to achieve those results, and what activities or initiatives are needed to produce those deliverables. Finally, discussion identified the critical inputs required to allow activities to be undertaken.

Smaller, expert committees have further refined the often wide-ranging ideas raised during the workshops. Ongoing consultation with the FRDC’s stakeholder groups, its Research Advisory Committees and those organisations involved in Industry Partnership Agreements and Subprograms will follow.

 Roadmaps for each of the five Outcomes are expected to be launched in January 2021 and will help inform investment under the R&D Plan 2020-2025.

View the FRDC Research & Development Plan 2020-2025 online on the FRDC’s website

High Level Panel Global Ocean Launch

The 14 nation Ocean Panel is the only ocean policy body comprising serving world leaders, including the Australian Prime Minister. Established in 2018, the Ocean Panel is building momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy where effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand in hand.

On 2 December 2020, the Panel will launch Protect, Produce, Prosper: Australia’s Sustainable Ocean Economy. The Transformations outline how the world can make a rapid transition to a sustainable ocean economy.

As part of the launch an expert panel webinar will be held on 3 December. The Prime Minister of Australia and Ocean Panel member, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, will open the webinar. Former FRDC Chair Russell Reichelt has been the Sherpa for the Australian led team. Leaders in sustainable seafood, Indigenous guardianship and equity, ocean and atmospheric science, and sustainable finance will then join the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, to discuss opportunities and challenges for Australia’s sustainable ocean economy.

Register to attend here -

Learn more at:

Adaptation of Commonwealth fisheries management to climate change

To-date, no jurisdiction in Australia has assessed the resilience of its overall fisheries management system to the anticipated impacts of climate change.

FRDC funded project “2016-059: Adaptation of Commonwealth fisheries management to climate change is building upon several completed FRDC funded projects that assess the effects on climate change on commercial fish species. The project will use a risk assessment-based approach to assess how well the existing Commonwealth fisheries management framework will cope with climate change impacts and identify subsequent strategies and priorities to account for effects of climate change.

The final report will be supplemented by a user-friendly handbook that will provide guidance to support Fisheries Managers to apply the new climate risk assessment framework. Although the project is focused on Commonwealth fisheries, it is expected that this work will be applicable in providing guidance to other fisheries.

The outcomes of this project, to be released in early 2021, will be improved knowledge of and agreement on the ecological and economic significance of climate change impact on Commonwealth fisheries.

Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Grants – Round 22 Update

The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, approved the progression of five Round 22 CRC applications to Stage 2 of the selection process. These are:

  • CRC Longevity
  • Digital Finance CRC
  • Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition CRC
  • Marine Bioproducts CRC
  • ONE Basin CRC

Stage 2 applications are due mid-January 2021.

Unfortunately, the two bids that the FRDC and other fishing & aquaculture partners were involved in – Smarter Regions CRC and Thriving Coast CRC – were not successful in proceeding to Stage 2 of this CRC round.

FRDC will continue to discuss with industry partners that participated in the Smarter Regions CRC bid future steps in relation to project ideas that were generated throughout the process and newly introduced technology companies and research providers.


Future Drought Fund: Drought Resilience Research and Adoption Program - Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs

The Drought Resilience Research and Adoption Program is a national four year program which will invest $86 million. It is one of eight programs currently underway under the Future Drought Fund.

The objective of the Program is to invest into collaborative research, development, extension, adoption and commercialisation activities aimed at helping primary producers and rural and regional communities to become more prepared for, and resilient to, future droughts.

This program will establish eight regionally-focused Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs. The Hubs will be located in regional areas that reflect the key agricultural and climatic zones across the country. The regions targeted are:

  • Southern NSW
  • Southern QLD/Northern NSW
  • South-West WA
  • Victoria
  • Top End NT/WA
  • Tropical North Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania

The Australian Government is now inviting applications to deliver services under the Future Drought Fund: Drought Resilience Research and Adoption Program – Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs (Hubs).

FRDC board meeting dates and locations



16-17 February 2021



21-22 April 2021


16-17 June 2021


18-19 August 2021


24-25 November 2021



Projects approved since last update in June 2020

NOTE: some projects may have not yet been contracted 

Project Number 



Principal Investigator 



Development of a sustainable scallop (Ylistrum balloti) fisheries enhancement program for Western Australia: Preliminary Feasibility Study

One Sea Pty Ltd

Clayton Nelson



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

CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory

Stacey Valdeter



Investigation of the direct and indirect role of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) on Western Rock Lobster settlement processes: with consideration of the potential role of contaminants

University of Western Australia (UWA)

Tim J. Langlois



Tasmania"s Marine Atlas

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Karen A. Alexander



Giant Crab Enhanced Data Collection - Innovative approaches to enhance data collection in the Victorian, South Australian and Tasmanian Giant crab fisheries

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA)

Toby Jeavons



Building industry capacity to lead co-management initiatives within the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery: Training industry to conduct biomass estimate surveys

Bass Strait Scallop Industry Association (BSSIA)

Andrew Sullivan



Shared science and Indigenous knowledge to support fisheries capacity building in Torres Strait

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Leo X. Dutra



Developing a traditional fishing harvest strategy to support the sustainable harvest of Quampie (Pinctada albina) in Moreton Bay

David Brewer Consulting (DBC)

David T. Brewer



Assessing the benefits of sea urchin processing waste as an agricultural fertiliser and soil ameliorant

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Nigel Swarts



Larval dispersal for Southern Rock Lobster and Longspined sea urchin to support management decisions

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Taroona

Katie A. Cresswell



An investigation of Indigenous knowledges and nutritional health and wellbeing benefits and values of seafood for supporting Indigenous fisheries development

Monash University Clayton Campus

Julie K. Brimblecombe



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



Postgraduate funding - Population biology and dynamics of Yellowfin Whiting

University of Adelaide

Bronwyn M. Gillanders



Options to effectively monitor and regulate recreational catch in the Tasmanian rock lobster fishery

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Taroona

Nils Krueck



Seafood Industry Engagement in the Australia - United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

Jim Fitzgerald and Associates

Jim E. Fitzgerald



Developing a strategic investment plan for fish habitat research and aquatic offsets

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Brisbane

Peter K. Kind



Developing a value proposition and future track for the National Aquaculture Council (NAC)

National Aquaculture Council

Kim Hooper



Compilation of information for the US Marine Mammal Protection Act Comparability Finding process

Alice Ilona Mackay

Alice I. Mackay



Tackle Box - Fishing at home during Covid 19

Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF)

Adam J. Martin



Survey for WSSV vectors in the Moreton Bay White Spot Biosecurity Area

DigsFish Services Pty Ltd

Ben Diggles



Developing a cost-effective monitoring regime and stock assessment for Sand Flathead in Tasmania

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Sean Tracey



Genetic stock structure of commercially important deep sea crab species

University of Western Australia (UWA)

Jason Kennington



Determining the spatial distribution and abundance indices for Moreton Bay Bugs, Thenus parindicus and Thenus australiensis in Queensland to improve stock assessment and management

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct

Tony J. Courtney



Contextualising shellfish food safety in Northern Australia

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Taroona

Sarah Ugalde



Identifying population connectivity of shark bycatch species in NT waters

Charles Darwin University (CDU)

Sam Banks



Aquatic animal welfare – a review of guidance documents and legislation

Panaquatic Health Solutions Pty Ltd

Paul Hardy-Smith



Improving the effectiveness, efficiency and safety of mitigation tools for protected species interactions in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery

Tuna Australia Ltd

David Ellis



Toxigenic vibrio baselines and optimum storage, transport and shelf-life conditions to inform cold supply chains in the north Australian Tropical Rock Oyster industry

Charles Darwin University (CDU)

Karen S. Gibb



Commercial delivery of genetically improved Sydney Rock Oysters

Australian Seafood Industries Pty Ltd (ASI)

Matt Cunningham



Developing innovations with Australian wild catch fisheries

Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd

Clayton Nelson



Australian Society for Fish Biology: Scientific networking, early career development, international engagement and 50th celebrations

Australian Society For Fish Biology Inc

Alison J. King



Evaluation of a smart-phone application to collect recreational fishing catch estimates, including an assessment against an independent probability based survey, using South Australia as a case study.

University of Adelaide

Crystal Beckmann



Communications Program – Increasing community understanding, trust and acceptance for the western rock lobster industry

Western Rock Lobster Council Inc (WRLC)

Matt H. Taylor



South Australian Pacific oyster mortality trials

Australian Seafood Industries Pty Ltd (ASI)

Matt Cunningham



Indicators for density and biomass of exploitable abalone – developing and applying a new approach

Western Abalone Divers Association (WADA)

Keith Sainsbury


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