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Collaborate Fund

As part of its RD&E plan, the FRDC is encouraging collaboration to promote alignment of priorities and investment efficiency by using leverage to provide incentives for cooperation and collaboration. Following the FRDC Annual Planning workshop in October 2016 and as outlined in the December 2016 briefing notes the FRDC has funds available ($600,000 per annum) to incentivise collaboration. The following rules outline how the FRDC will manage the collaboration fund:

  • There must be two or more partners (RACs, IPAs, subprograms);

  • To obtain funds the priority must align with one of the three national priorities or the collaborative priorities identified at the October 2016 annual workshop:

    • Impacts of seismic

    • Resource access/allocation

    • Data and data gaps

    • People development

    • Community support/demonstration of the broader value of fishing and aquaculture.

  • For every two dollars brought by the partnership the FRDC will provide one dollar. Therefore if there are two partners they put a dollar in each and the FRDC will provide an additional dollar.

This fund will be managed over multiple years and accumulates if unallocated, the same as RAC, IPA and subprogram budgets. At present this fund is still under subscribed so we are keen for the RACS, IPAs and Subprograms to take advantage of this fund.

Research Advisory Committee update

The FRDC has completed the first round of call for applications under the new RAC management system. Applications addressing the identified priorities of each RAC jurisdiction, including those with collaborative potential, were evaluated at the March round of meetings and have since been approved, rejected or requested revision with the applicants informed via decision notification letters in mid-May. An additional call for applications (with priorities from the Subprograms and IPAs) was made in May.

The next round of RAC meetings are taking place from June through to August, where the committees will evaluate new and revised applications. Refer to the FRDC Calendar or upcoming meeting dates. The RACs will also undertake a situational scan of their respective jurisdictions to identify priority areas for research in the immediate and near future.

Those immediate research priorities will be included in the third call for applications for 2017 under the FRDC’s flexible and more responsive approach to RD&E investment. If priorities are nominated, this third call for applications will be made in August, with a closing date of 15th September. For more information refer to the applying for funding page.

Those other research priorities will form the basis for the upcoming Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop (see below).

Finally, the RACs are focusing on their strategic RD&E Plans. It is expected that the majority of the RAC’s RD&E plans will be finalised and distributed to stakeholders for comment following July - August round of meetings. These strategic RD&E plans will provide a mechanism for stakeholders and research providers to gain a better understanding of the priority areas for funding within each jurisdiction. The RD&E plans also provide the first means of RAC – stakeholder engagement; however, all have prioritised improving and, or developing formal processes for engagement to ensure that stakeholder’s needs are better identified and thus addressed through RD&E investment.

FRDC Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop

The FRDC’s Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop is scheduled for August 30th and 31st to discuss RAC, IPA, Subprogram and Advisory Group research priorities. One of the objectives of the Stakeholder Planning Workshop is to provide a forum to share and identify potential collaborative opportunities for co-investment in research that will have multi- jurisdictional and, or national benefit.

More information will be provided via the FRDC webpage - Partners Page

Recfishing Research Subprogram

At its February meeting Recfishing Research agreed to fund a number of bursaries for recreational fishing leaders to attend the 8th World Recreational Fishing Conference in Vancouver Canada ( A number of applications were received for this exciting opportunity and the selection panel had an extremely hard time choosing the successful applicants. In the end the task was so difficult and the applicants so strong the FRDC agreed to expand the number of bursaries offered which allowed for all states to be represented, the successful applicants are;

  • Mike Burgess – VIC

  • Isaac Tancred – WA

  • Evan Dixon – NT

  • Travis Preece – TAS

  • Domenic Holland – WA

  • Sean Tracey – Tasmania

  • James Florisson – WA

  • Jamie Crawford – SA

  • Sam Williams – QLD

  • Jackson Davis – NSW

In addition the FRDC is also supporting Allan Hansard from the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation and David Ciaravolo to attend the conference in mentoring roles. Allan will be providing a mentoring role for the study tour and will also be seeking ideas and keynote speakers for this year’s Australian National Recreational Fishing Conference.

There is a significant delegation from Australia attending the conference many of whom will be interacting with the bursary winners and providing them even greater opportunity to network and learn at this event. The PI for the project Frank Prokop is currently organising a study tour to follow the conference which will include a range of topics including; inspections of habitat rehabilitation projects, investigations of charter operations and management, investigation of Sturgeon and Halibut fishery management and allocation.

Recfishing Research are also progressing to conduct a national social and economic survey this year. A project with ABARES is about to kick off to conduct a power analysis with associated costs to allow for a decision to be made on the size of the project and how much investment it will require.

Status of Australia Fish Stocks (SAFS) reports update

The next meeting of the SAFS Advisory Group is 11 and 12 July 2017 in Melbourne which will focus on new species for SAFS 2018; refining the SAFS classification framework and reducing the number of species/species complexes classified as undefined. Further, the meeting will address criteria for including SAFS species; partnering with the Dietitians Association of Australia (to help communicate evidence-based information in relation to sustainable fish stocks and the benefits of eating fish to empower these health professionals to provide accurate, up-to-date, consistent advice to their clients and the wider population); and the development of an associated response report that describes the current outlook for those species classified as transitional recovering or overfished, and the current RD&E underway or required to address their status.

An independent audit of the SAFS reports was commissioned by the FRDC in April 2017 to assess the adequacy and efficacy of the SAFS 2016 reports as a strategic reporting tool to satisfy the intended objectives of SAFS. The audit found that SAFS represents an advancement in measuring the performance of fisheries management by creating an independent scientific, national framework for stock status reporting across all fisheries jurisdictions in Australia. SAFS has led to greater joint collaboration, as well as transfers of methodologies and processes. The audit also found that greater efforts are required on further defining the intended audience and extension methods to reach them (2016-143-DLD).

FRDC has also been working the AFMF Fisheries Statistical Working Group to streamline the data provisioning processes for the 2018 edition as well as meeting priority areas of both AFMF and the Research Providers Network (RPN). Data is used in the SAFS reports not only to inform the catch chart and spatial map but also to generate all tables as well as the interactive data tools section (see: ).

Seafood Sustainability and the Community (Priority 1 Subprogram)

Sevaly Sen (Subprogram Leader) and Mark Boulter are assisting the FRDC in managing the work plan for Priority 1 – Product of Australia is sustainable and acknowledged to be so. Following on from the workshop to scope Responsible Fishing Assessment & Performance Reporting that was held in January, FRDC has commenced a trial of risk based reporting on 20 domestic species. The trial intends to observe how a risk based reporting tool will consider bycatch, habitat and fisheries management (this is similar to the UK Seafish RASS tool (see: The pilot of 20 species is to be completed by the end of July. Pending the trial outcomes, the FRDC will then consider the production of a business to business risk based reporting tool. Additional considerations within priority one include further research on building methods to assess the undefined or low data species and the scoping of novel methods to mitigate bycatch in wild catch fisheries.

Third round of Rural R&D for Profit Programme

The third round of the Rural R&D for Profit Programme closed in early December 2016. The FRDC submitted several applications for funding. The FRDC recently received advice that the four applications submitted were unsuccessful. A total of 16 applications were submitted for consideration with seven being approved.

The Department has stated that the next round of the R&D for Profit Programme will be postponed until early 2018. This is to enable them to conduct a mid-term evaluation of the programme. Further details can be found on the Departments website .

Carp biological control

The National Carp Control Plan’s research program has commenced, with exchange of contracts between research providers and the FRDC now underway. The NCCP’s Strategic Research and Technology Plan (‘the Plan’), which was finalised and endorsed shortly after the last stakeholder briefing provided the framework for developing the research program and procuring research. The Science Advisory Group (SAG – Dr Peter O’Brien chairing) to the NCCP was the primary advisory body overseeing development of the Plan.  Expressions of Interest addressing priorities identified in the Plan were sought through either select tender (where more than one institution or agency had strong capabilities in a given subject area) or direct selection. The latter approach was used where an institution or researcher had significant intellectual property invested in a particular research topic, or where a project required unique facilities (for example, the biosecure facilities at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratories). Expressions of Interest were evaluated and prioritised by the SAG at its third meeting, enabling development of a final list of projects suitable for funding, subject to proponents completing full proposals with modifications as requested by the SAG. Projects funded under the research program include:

  • An cost-benefit analysis using market and non-market valuation methods

  • A quantitative risk assessment examining social, economic, and ecological risk of carp biocontrol

  • A multi-method, multi-jurisdictional biomass study that will provide the most accurate estimate of carp biomass yet obtained in Australia

  • Epidemiological modelling to inform virus release strategies

  • Research quantifying risk of anoxia and cyanobacterial blooms in main river channels, and shallow and ephemeral wetlands

  • Assessments of options for utilising carp biomass after harvest

  • Community and stakeholder attitude surveys facilitating understanding of community attitudes, aspirations, and concerns regarding carp biocontrol

Principal Investigators on NCCP research projects will meet at a workshop convened by NCCP management over coming weeks to map project interdependencies, establish collaborations, and identify efficiencies.

The NCCP Policy Advisory Group (PAG) (Dr Colin Grant chairing) is also in place and has met twice. Critical administrative processes for the PAG have been established, and a commitment made to proceed with state-based workshops to identify and progress necessary legislative and regulatory approvals. The PAG has also developed a consolidated table of relevant legislation and regulation that will inform development of a work plan. State representatives on the PAG are working within their jurisdictions to refine this table. Finally, the PAG also reviewed the Strategic Research and Technology Plan, and PAG members will attend the Principal Investigators workshop to ensure that the NCCP research program addresses knowledge gaps with implications for legislative approvals.

Terms of Reference for Operations and Communication Working Groups have been developed, and calls for nomination sent to the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee (IPAC), who are currently seeking suitable nominees through their networks.

The NCCP is drawing increasing interest, with the National Coordinator (Matt Barwick) recently answering questions at Senate Estimates (see below this update for Hansard link), participating in an interview with the Hon Barnaby Joyce (Member for New England, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry). Media releases and film clips resulting from these opportunities are generating significant discussion.

The NCCP Communications and Engagement Plan has been developed and endorsed by the NCCP Steering Committee. A digital engagement strategy has also been developed under the Communications and Engagement Plan, and is being successfully implemented across several social media platforms. Over two million people have been reached by the NCCP Facebook page ( since March 2017. The NCCP website is now live ( All communications and engagement activities are supported by coordinated program branding.

In summary, the NCCP continues to meet its milestones across all program areas. The research program’s commencement marks a new stage for the NCCP. Ongoing growth in media and political interest are likely, reflecting both the success of the Communications and Engagement Strategy (including the digital engagement strategy), and high community interest in carp biocontrol. The NCCP team will continue to ensure timely and effective delivery across all program areas.

Hansard link the NCCP National Coordinator (Matt Barwick) at Senate Estimates:

Fish and Chips Awards

The FRDC in partnership with the State and Territory Fishing Industry Councils are taking a new approach to the National Fish and Chip Awards in 2017 as the FRDC promotes a new people’s choice category, which will run in conjunction with the National Seafood Industry Awards in September.

Each state and territory fishing industry council has historically run individual industry awards, of which the Fish and Chip Award is just one category. This year, however, the FRDC is coordinating two Fish and Chip Award categories – people’s choice and judge’s choice – across all state, territory and national awards.

All fish and chip entrants will be rated against five criteria – taste, service, choice, information and labelling. The FRDC’s communications, trade and marketing manager Peter Horvat says the decision to include a people’s choice award this year will help the seafood sector engage with consumers in an accessible way.

The goal is to build on consumers iconic memories of eating fish and chips at the beach, feeling that connection to the ocean. Those memories can help build connections between the public and producers – those fishers working to source the best products for consumers in Australia.

Through the awards the FRDC will engage with consumers and deliver key messages related to the science that underpins Australia’s fisheries and their management. The FRDC will also use this opportunity to better educate and inform consumers on the sustainability of Australia’s fisheries and the wide range of seafood options on offer.

The response to the program to date, two months in, has been nothing short of startling. Over 70,000+ votes have been received for some 900 fish and chip shops. The response has been bolstered by very strong support from Senator Anne Ruston who launched the awards at Parliament House and has been actively getting all politicians to support their local shops. Senator Ruston has also been taking selfies around the country at fish and chips shops.


The National Fish and Chip Awards will be presented as part of the National Seafood Industry Awards on Thursday, 28 September, 2017 at the Seafood Directions Conference in Sydney.

To vote or for more details visit  or

Marketing update

The FRDC continues to work with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to amend the Primary Industry Research and Development Act to allow for voluntary collection of marketing funds.   Discussions with the Department indicate that the requisite legislation for the amendment has been drafted and it is hoped it will be introduced into parliament in the autumn 2017 sitting.

Australian Prawn Farmers (APFA) marketing levy progress

The final requisite industry consultation with licensed prawn farmers for the development of a marketing levy for the Australian Prawn Farmers has been completed. The formal vote was due to be undertaken in March 2017 and dependent on success the submission sent to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources to approve the levy, however due to issues around White Spot Disease the vote has been delayed. 

Australian Wild Abalone (AWA) Marketing Levy Progression

The industry consultation phase for the development of an Australian Wild Abalone Marketing Levy is underway. Information for consultation with industry members such as background, marketing strategy, frequently asked questions is available on request. It is not clear when the ACA are likely to have completed the process, however they are aiming to vote for the levy in mid-2017.

IP and Commercialisation

Microhacks workshops from Pollenizer

The FRDC has partnered with a leader in start-up science, x-lab (was Pollenizer), and the Cotton RDC to run two workshops ( to help our stakeholders take innovative ideas and turn them into a reality.

Anyone in the fishing and aquaculture world – individuals, pairs or small groups of fishers, farmers, researchers, consultants, inventors – who have big ideas are able to apply to participate in this first step to create change. The microhacks workshop will help turn science into technology, and technology into business. The microhacks workshop will involve:

  • A hands-on, two-day workshop in Sydney utilising Pollenizer’s – Startup Science® methodology

  • Bringing an idea and watching it come to life

  • Developing ideas with experts from different parts of the cotton industry

  • The opportunity for the best ideas to be incubated into real start-up businesses.

White Spot Disease update

Information regarding updates on White Spot Disease caused by the White Spot Syndrome Virus can be found on the FRDC website at /research/aquatic_animal_health/Pages/White-Spot-Virus.aspx

Further information on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Import Conditions for prawns can be found at

Impacts of seismic testing

The University of Tasmania and Curtin University also initiated a project investigating impacts of air gun exposure on zooplankton. The results of this project will be published on 22 June in the scientific journal Nature Ecology and Evolution –

The research showed significant negative impact on the target species, causing an increase in mortality from 18 per cent to 40-60 per cent – or a two to three-fold increase in mortality. Impacts were observed out to the maximum 1.2 kilometre and 34-36 metres depth (see floor) range tested – note the 1.2 kilometres is the outer limit of the testing equipment used. These results are 100 times greater than the previously assumed impact range of 10 metres, and all larval krill in the range were killed after the air gun’s passage. The research used an actual seismic source operated along a survey line as per for a commercial seismic survey. The environment (sea floor) was 36 m depth and relatively uniform.

The research was funded by the Curtin University and the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS).

Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) Seismic Research

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has secured around $12 million of funding from Quadrant Energy through a Good Standing Agreement to undertake a regional environmental study which includes research related to the impacts of seismic testing ( The work focuses on the North West Shelf and falls under four research Themes:

  • Marine Noise Monitoring and Impacts – this Theme is the one the FRDC has most interest in and will be looking into the effects of seismic testing on Pearl Oysters, Finfish (likely Red Emperor) and plankton.

  • Benthic Habitats and Demersal Biodiversity – this theme will undertake mapping and biological surveys along the Ancient Coastline Key Ecological Feature at the125m bathymetry line to characterise benthic habitats. The project will also address an issue of interest to the Pearl industry around the connectivity of deep water Pearl Oyster populations and inshore Pearl Oyster populations.

  • Protected and Iconic Species – this theme will determine biologically important areas (BIAs) for Pygmy Blue Whales and Turtles. Currently the BIAs for these species are set precautionary and are very large.

  • Spatial Dynamics of Isolated Coral Reef Atolls – this theme will develop  innovative and adaptive remote sensing long-term monitoring techniques to reduce the costs of monitoring

AIMS are currently in the final contracting phase with Quadrant Energy. The research program will commence on 1 July 2017. 

Key events 2017



More information

26 to 30 Jun

World Aquaculture 2017, Cape Town, South Africa

2 to 6 Jul

Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) Conference 2017, Darwin

10 to 15 Jul

4th Australian Scientific Conference on Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity, Cairns

12 Jul

Commonwealth RAC


19 Jul

Victorian RAC


16 to 20 Jul

World Recreational Fishing Conference 8, Victoria, Canada


21 to 24 Jul

Australian Society For Fish Biology Conference

Albany, Western Australia

25 Jul

Western Australian RAC


26 Jul

Northern Territory RAC


25 to 27 Jul

Asia Pacific Aquaculture 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

28 Jul

Tasmanian RAC


1 Aug

Queensland RAC


3 Aug

South Australian RAC


3 Aug

New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference

30 to 31 Aug

FRDC Annual Stakeholder workshop, Adelaide


10 to 13 Sep

World Seafood Congress 2017, Reykjavík, Iceland


23 to 25 Sept

Trans-Tasman Rock Lobster Congress

27 to 29 Sept

Seafood Directions Australia


25 to 26 Nov (tentative)

Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation National Recreational Fishing Conference, Darwin


FRDC board meeting dates

16 to 17 August 2017

FRDC Board Meeting, Canberra

02 6285 0400

20 to 21 Nov 2017

FRDC Board Meeting, Canberra

02 6285 0400

27-28 Feb 2018

FRDC board meeting Melbourne

02 6285 0400


See /Pages/Calendar.aspx for more events.

Key new projects approved since last update in March 2017



NOTE: may not yet be contracted

Project Number



Principal Investigator

Total Expend Amount ($)


TSGA IPA: vulnerability of the endangered Maugean Skate population to degraded environmental conditions in Macquarie Harbour

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Jeremy Lyle



Variation to FRDC 2014-406: Programme 3 Professional development - directors and industry office bearers

Western Rock Lobster Council Inc.

Kim Colero



Variation to FRDC 2014-406: Programme 3 Professional development - directors and industry office bearers

Western Rock Lobster Council Inc.

Kim Colero



Lever opportunities under the Aquatic Resources Management Act WA: benefit sharing, re-allocation and co-management in practise

Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

Emily Ogier



Development of a 5-year Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Plan for Northern Territory fisheries and aquaculture based on priorities needs of all major stakeholder sectors

Fishwell Consulting Pty Ltd

Ian Knuckey



Assessing the capacity for sustainable finfish aquaculture in the vicinity of seagrasses

South Australian Research and Development Institute

Jason Tanner



WRL IPA: determining variation in catchability of western rock lobsters to standardise important abundance indices used for stock assessment

Department of Fisheries Western Australia

Jason How



Human Dimensions Research Subprogram management

Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

Emily Ogier



Recfishing Research Subprogram: Travel bursaries for attendance at the 8th World Recreational Fisheries Conference - Vancouver Canada 2017

Curtin University

Frank Prokop



COMRAC 5 year R&D Plan 2017-22

Ridge Partners

Ewan Colquhoun



Reducing the number of undefined species in the Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports: Phase one - categorising "undefined" species and addressing the description of this stock status in the Nationally agreed classification framework

Tony Smith Consulting

Tony Smith



Decadal scale projection of changes in Australian fisheries stocks under climate change


Beth Fulton



White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) preparedness for biosecurity awareness and adoption of best practice by the NSW and QLD wild catch commercial fishers - understanding what extension pathways work best

Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA)/NSW Professional Fisherman’s Association

Eric Perez/Tricia Beatty



Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) reports 2016 and beyond: Independent project audit

PJ Neville & Associates

Peter Neville



Industry and expert attendance at the ICES Expert Working Group Meetings. 3-7 April 2017 Nelson NZ

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)

Crispian Ashby



Understanding factors influencing undercaught TACs, declining catch rates and failure to recover for many quota species in the SESSF

Fishwell Consulting

Ian Knuckey




Assess the feasibility of holding the 12th International Conference and Workshop on Lobster Biology and Management in Perth Western Australia in 2020.

Western Rock Lobster Council Inc.

Kim Colero



Establishment of a World Centre of Excellence for Lobster in Australia (Phase 1 Scoping study)

Western Rock Lobster Council Inc.

Kim Colero



Collation of white spot syndrome virus testing from wild-caught re-imported prawns

Koopman Family Trust

Matt Koopman



Australia's National Recreational Fishing Conference 2017

Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF)

Allan Hansard



Future oysters CRC-P: Species diversification to provide alternatives for commercial production

South Australian Research and Development Institute

Xiaoxu Li



Developing automated data cleansing and validation processes for fisheries catch and effort data

Department of Primary Industries (NSW)

Karina Hall



Fisheries biology of short-spined sea urchins (Heliocidaris erythrogramma) in Tasmania to support profitable harvest and appropriate management

Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

John Keane



Increase the participation and employment of Indigenous people in the NT commercial fishing, management and seafood industry

Developing East Arnhem Ltd (DEAL)

Julian Morison



Understanding environmental and fisheries factors causing fluctuations in mud crab and blue swimmer crab fisheries in northern Australia to inform harvest strategies

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)

Julie Robins



Improving mortality rate estimates for management of the Queensland saucer scallop fishery

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)

Tony Courtney



Seafood CRC: Extending biotoxin capability and research in Australia through development of an experimental biotoxin contamination facility to target industry relevant issues

South Australian Research and Development Institute

Alison Turnbull



NCCP: Building community support for carp control: understanding community and stakeholder attitudes and assessing social effects

University of Canberra

Jacki Schirmer



NCCP: Completion of non-target species testing for teleost orders Osteoglossiformes, Beloniformes and Synbranchiformes, and WA endemic species Salamanderfish Lepidogalaxidus salamandroides and Nightfish Bostockia porosa


Ken McColl



NCCP: Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 and its relevance to humans.

Australian National University (ANU)

Katrina Roper



NCCP: Development of hydrological, ecological and epidemiological modelling to inform a CyHV3 release strategy for the biocontrol of carp in the Murray Darling Basin


Peter Durr



NCCP: Expanded modelling to determine anoxia risk in main river channel and shallow wetlands

University of Adelaide North Terrace Campus

Justin Brookes



NCCP: Impact Costs of Carp & Expected Benefits and Costs Associated with Carp Control in the Murray Darling Basin

Agtrans Research

Peter Chudleigh



NCCP: Preparing for carp herpesvirus: a carp biomass estimate for eastern Australia

La Trobe University Melbourne Campus

Andrew F. Bennett



NCCP: Remembering a life BC #BeforeCarp A collection of stories from Australians who have been impacted by Australia’s worst freshwater pest fish – the Carp!

Invasive Animals Ltd

Ian McDonald



NCCP: Social, economic, and ecological risk assessment for use of Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3) for carp biocontrol in Australia

CSIRO Health and Biosecurity

Peter Caley



NCCP: Investigation of nutrient interception pathways to enable circumvention of cyanobacterial blooms following carp mortality events

University of Adelaide

Justin Brookes



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