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New Minister

Senator Bridget McKenzie has been appointed as Minister for Agriculture in the new Australian Government, and is the first woman to serve in this role. Senator McKenzie was first elected to the Senate in Victoria in 2010, and is deputy leader of the National Party.

Senator Jonathon Duniam has been appointed as Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism. Senator Duniam was first elected to the Senate in Tasmania in 2016, representing the Liberal Party.

They replace the former Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and Assistant Minister for Fisheries and Forestry Senator Richard Colbeck. Minister Littleproud does continue his linkages with fishing and aquaculture via retaining responsibility for water.

FRDC staffing update

A few changes to staff at the FRDC are and soon to happen. The business and communication team have a few new faces. Hope Cooper joins the FRDC to fill in the role of accountant following Pranab Acharya leaving. Hope has a close affinity with the seafood industry with family working with oysters. Elisabeth Howie and Angela Fane both join the communication team, with Elisabeth taking over running Fish Magazine and Angela has been assisting with the National Fish and Chips Awards.

Annabel Boyer, who has done a great job running Fish Magazine will take on a new role focusing on “extension”. The last Stakeholder Workshop in Adelaide identified an opportunity to expand the extension activities that FRDC should engage in. A key focus will be undertaking an analysis and synthesis of key research areas – for example trawl bycatch, safety, gear or energy efficiency – to summarise the key findings/impacts and identify areas where further research is required.

The contracts with two staff – Skye Barrett and Pam Milnes – finish up on 30 June this year. The FRDC thanks both for their contribution and wish them the best in their future endeavours.

Funding Round Update

The March open call round closed on 17th June 2019. A total of a 33 applications were received. These are being sent to the relevant Research Advisory Groups (RACs), Subprograms and Industry Partnership Agreements (IPAs) for consideration at their next round of meetings in July.     

Investment Fund Approach to Approving Funding of RD&E

The FRDC board at its April meeting endorsed an investment fund approach to the approval of funding for FRDC RD&E delegating the assessment of individual applications deemed to be medium to low risk to the FRDC Managing Director. This approach involves the board approving annually an investment in RD&E outlined in the:

  • FRDC RD&E Plan

  • FRDC Annual Operational Plan

  • The sector (Industry Partnership Agreement) and jurisdictional (Research Advisory Committee) RD&E Plans

  • Nominated priorities such as through the FRDC call for research applications.

An investment fund approach to evaluation will allow for direct reporting on the KPIs, inputs and outcomes for the FRDC Annual Report and Annual Operational Plan.   It will be centred on the RD&E Plans developed by FRDC’s investment fund areas (IPAs and RACs) as well as the national priorities and infrastructure (subprograms).   These groups will:

  • undertake an annual review of their plan and priority setting process

  • attend the annual FRDC stakeholder workshop to compare their portfolio against those of the other sectors/jurisdictions

  • form collaborative linkages where possible

  • finalise the work program for the coming year

    The FRDC Programs team will report to the board on the performance of each of the investment funds.   This report will outline:

  • a summary of activities

  • progress against their RD&E Plan

  • achievements against the previous year’s inputs and outputs such as investment against previously nominated priorities and completed RD&E activities

  • current gaps based on the activities of the year such as priorities that have not yet been actioned

  • an update on the current budget including available funds to the end of the plan

  • an outline of the future years proposed activities with a budget allocation against it

The process for applying for funds will remain unchanged:

  • FRDC will call for applications as per the Investment in RD&E policy

  • applications will be submitted and evaluated by the relevant RACs, Subprograms and IPAs (using additional external review where required)

  • an evaluation sheet will be prepared for the FRDC Managing Director for a decision on the application

  • the FRDC portfolio manager and portfolio management will jointly monitor activities against the portfolio RD&E plan (including the budget allocation) to ensure they are meeting the agreed outcomes (and FRDC board approval is not exceeded).

    A risk based approach will be used on the applications submitted.   Where an application is considered to be high risk in one or more categories it will be forwarded to the FRDC Board for assessment. The following risks will be considered:

  • Reputational – is there a risk to the reputation/brand or its stakeholders, could activities generate negative publicity?
  • Political – does the proposed activity contravene government policy - requested/supported by a political party - could the activity cause embarrassment to the government
  • Ethical – potential for deaths of threatened and endangered or protected species, any material implications for Work Health and Safety (WHS) , animal welfare, or human welfare

    If you have any questions about the new approach don’t hesitate to contact the FRDC.

Final Report Requirements – update accessibility and inclusivity

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Australian Government agencies are required to ensure information and services are provided in a non-discriminatory accessible manner – the FRDC and as a result all content produced as part of our projects also need to meet these requirements.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines outlines ways to make digital content more accessible to the broadest audience –

While there are many aspects to this, a key focus for principal investigators is to ensure that PDF documents are accessible. To make a PDF accessible you must make sure structural elements such as headings are marked-up so that a screen reader can follow the logical order of the content. The FRDC will update the final report design standard to highlight these requirements. We are regularly working to improve what we deliver to end users and this is part of that.

If there are issues with meeting these needs, contact Kyaw Kyaw Soe Hlaing and we will try to assist you in meeting the requirements.

FRDC Independent Review of RAC and IPAs

It has been over a decade that the FRDC has been entering into agreements with different stakeholder groups to help in the prioritisation and funding of research for fishing and aquaculture. To ensure continued relevance of these structures in helping inform the best use of FRDC funds the FRDC is seeking a comprehensive and independent review of the current partnership model.

The FRDC has commissioned Forest Hill Consulting (Scott Williams and Russell Pattinson) to do the review (FRDC Project 2018-173), which includes:

  • Subprograms, such as Aquatic Animal Health & Biosecurity and Recreational Fishing.

The review will examine:

  • How the various models are managed by the FRDC and how that management might be improved

  • The degree to which they meet stakeholder needs

  • How well they are meeting the FRDC’s extension/adoption/impact goals

  • Areas for improvement generally

  • How well they are contributing to the FRDC realising its planned outcome

    The review will provide recommendations as to how the FRDC might better partner with stakeholders in the future.  This might include providing alternate partnership model(s) as informed by better practices used by other Research Development Corporations. The review will also provide recommendations on the capacity and capability needs of the FRDC in developing and maintaining effective partnerships into the future. It will also review the various approaches to extension taken by both the FRDC and its partners, and make recommendations as to where and how extension might be improved.

    Forest Hill Consulting have been undertaking surveys that provide an opportunity to get FRDC stakeholder input. Stakeholder response to the surveys undertaken so far is considerable, with approximately 180 responses provided to date. Information submitted is now being reviewed only by Forest Hill Consulting (and not by the FRDC). In parallel, Forest Hill Consulting will engage in a series of stakeholder interviews and workshop sessions to ground truth trends in the survey data and explore the feasibility of recommendations on how the FRDC might better partner with stakeholders in the future. The FRDC appreciates our stakeholder’s participation in this process.

    The consultancy team can be contacted at

2018 Status of Australian Stock Reports

The 2018 Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports were launched in March 2019 by Senator Richard Colbeck in his opening address of the ABARES Outlook Conference. Adding to the coverage Stephen Mayfield (SARDI Aquatic Sciences) presented at the FRDC Fisheries session (, speaking about the role and production of the reports. The latest edition of SAFS Reports are available online at and via the app Do not forget to download the app and if you like it, provide a 5 star rating.

The SAFS Reports provide the most scientifically robust, up-to-date information on the sustainability of Australia’s wild catch fish stocks. Facilitated by the FRDC in collaboration with agencies from all jurisdictions across Australia, the Reports are designed to inform government, industry, seafood consumers, retailers and the general community of the stock status of Australia’s fish populations. The SAFS Reports provide a simple guide to understand how Australia’s fish stocks are performing and also assist in highlighting priorities for research and management to address species and stocks of concern.

The SAFS Reports inform the United Nations Sustainability Goals

The SAFS Reports continue to inform Australia’s contribution towards meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, namely relating to Goal 14 “Life Below Water”: See Australian report

Promoting Sustainable Australian Fish and Seafood – A guide for Health Professionals produced by Health Professionals for Health Professionals

Seafood is a nutritionally important food and part of our food culture. However, uncertainty about sustainability status has left health professionals unsure what to recommend.

To help resolve this the FRDC has funded a project to provide health professionals with the latest information based on the Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports. The guide also provides an update on the health benefits of seafood and helps to address barriers to seafood consumption.

As part of the project, a review of the evidence supporting the promotion of fish and seafood for health was undertaken. This review summarises the latest findings on omega-3’s and their impact on health including foetal, infant and childhood growth and development, perinatal depression, cardiovascular disease, cognitive function and academic achievement.

In addition to the research, the guide offers seafood recipes that are healthy, simple and suitable for everyday meals. These recipes cater for families and those on a budget or with limited time or confidence. Importantly, each recipe includes suggestions for sustainable species.

The information in the online resource for health professionals has been endorsed by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA). “DAA welcomes this collaboration between Accredited Practising Dietitians and the FRDC. We share a commitment to evidence-based information and this resource will help dietitians as well as other health professionals provide trustworthy advice about seafood. This project assists DAA’s mission to support our members and build healthier communities,” said DAA CEO Robert Hunt.

Also see C. Norwood ‘Connecting Health Professionals with Sustainable Seafood’, Fish Magazine, Vol 27 (2) June 2019; and Senior N and Stewardson C. 2019, ‘Promoting Sustainable Australian Fish and Seafood’, Food Australia, April-May: 34-37.

Three Stamps of Approval for Sustainability

Image of three postage stamps of sustainable Australian fish species

Australia Post has released a limited run of ‘Sustainable Fish’ stamps. The three species – Patagonian Toothfish, Blue Grenadier and Tiger Flathead – are classified as sustainable in Australia are per the 2018 SAFS Reports, and for the latter two species, the MSC.

The stamps are available, while stocks last, at:, and from participating Post Offices. An article about the issue can be found at:

FRDC’s 2020-25 RD&E Plan: the Now, the Where, and How

Continuing to build a vibrant and innovative fishing and aquaculture community will require careful and deliberate planning. Through the years the FRDC have produced a series of 5-year Research, Development & Extension (RD&E) Plans. Each has taken a contemporary look at the business landscape, and laid down, against that landscape, a series of desired outcomes for fishing and aquaculture over that five-year period, and areas of strategic focus. Each plan also seeks to articulate the optimal framework for investment in RD&E to achieve the vision for fishing and aquaculture in Australia.

The process of developing a shared Research, Development & Extension Plan for 2020-2025 is gaining momentum. FRDC will be working in partnership with a broad coalition across the fishing and aquaculture community during the rest of 2019 to collectively answer three key questions: Now? Where? How?


FRDC has engaged Ridge Partners to gather evidence that will help to define the current position of Australia’s fishing and aquaculture community. A lot has changed since the last snapshot was conducted in 2014, and researchers will be casting a broad net to measure the performance of Australia’s fishing and aquaculture community, by describing who is involved, what we know about what drives them, how they are perceived by consumers, what is being caught and/or farmed, the sort of benefits that are being generated in the process, what impact this might be having on the natural environment, and what the longer-term trends reveal.


The future operating environment is likely to be characterised by increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Charting a path with any confidence to seize opportunities will require a firm focus over the horizon. FRDC will be collaborating with the CSIRO and Strategic Journeys to deliver a foresighting project using analytical and consultative methods well suited to understanding complex systems and problems. The intent is to detect changes that are likely to affect Australia’s fishing and aquaculture community between now and 2030 from a geopolitical, social, economic, environmental and/or technical perspective, and the drivers of those changes. This will help to reveal possible implications for fisheries production, trade, pricing, fishing participation, expenditure, and the environment. Information collected will provide valuable insight in helping to determine where we need to go, or our vision for the future.


Having built a shared agreement on our vision for the future we need to work out the best way to get there. To help, we have formed a leadership group comprising a subset of senior decision-makers across Australia’s fishing & aquaculture community, and an innovators group comprising entrepreneurs and graduates of fisheries leadership and people development programs, who will work with us to co-design strategies and focus areas to pursue the shared vision. Participants will be encouraged to:

  • take a helicopter view of the fishing and aquaculture community at an international and national level;

  • work to sense the key drivers, uncertainties and opportunities  shaping Australia’s fishing and aquaculture landscape and make sense of these forces for your sector and the fishing and aquaculture community as a whole;

  • employ cutting edge decision-making frameworks to support contextually appropriate solutions;

  • explore different ways of decision-making, thinking strategically, and with a long-term vision;

  • further improve collaboration across the fishing and aquaculture community, and the uptake and implementation of innovative practices; and

  • contribute to a movement that will shape the future of fishing and aquaculture in Australia.

There will also be opportunity for broad input from across the fishing and aquaculture community as well. FRDC will be hosting workshops in late 2019 to obtain wider input to the vision, planned outcomes and strategic focus for the 2020-2025 RD&E Plan. FRDC invites stakeholder input throughout this process, whereby you can email us at to contribute your vision for the future of fishing and aquaculture in Australia. Or perhaps share your ideas on what is working, what needs changing, or how to make better use of research, development and extension activities to benefit Australia’s fishing and aquaculture community, and the Australian public.

Further information as the plan unfolds and access to key documents can be found on the website.

National RD&E Seafood Industry Safety Initiative

The FRDC has taken the lead in developing a national strategy to address efforts and resources lacking the work health and safety space of the Australian seafood industry (inclusive of aquaculture, commercial, Indigenous & recreational fishing). To achieve this, the FRDC have established the National RD&E Seafood Industry Safety Initiative.

National RD&E Seafood Industry Safety Initiative will be overseen by a Steering Committee, whose membership is comprised of national seafood industry leaders and representatives from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The Steering Committee will provide the overarching role of guiding, coordinating and promoting RD&E investment.

The National Safety Initiative will be chaired by John Harrison and for more information contact Chris Izzo (

Current and future FRDC (co)invested activities will sit under the National RD&E Seafood Industry Safety Initiative – recent projects include:

  • 2016-400 “Sustainable Fishing Families: Developing industry human capital through health, wellbeing, safety and resilience”

  • 2017-046 “What’s stopping you from protecting yourself and your mates? Identifying barriers to the adoption of safe work practises in the small-scale wild catch commercial fishing industry”

  • 2017-194SeSAFE: Delivering Industry Safety through Electronic Learning”

  • 2017-231 “To develop a national marine safety extension resource toolkit and to trial with all fisheries jurisdictions”

Research & Development Corporation’s Rural Safety and Health Alliance

The FRDC is a participant, with eight other RDCs, in the Rural Safety and Health Alliance (RSHA; The RSHA aims to improve Australia’s primary production safety record by investing in practical RD&E solutions informed by industry input on work, health and safety risks.

The RDC collaborative partners are finalising the governance structures and strategic plan for the RSHA. This will inform the prioritisation of cross cutting research that address the shared health and safety needs across agri-sectors.

It is anticipated that the RSHA will call for applications at the end of 2019.

Sponsor the World Fisheries Congress 2020

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.

Held every four years, the 8th World Fisheries Congress 2020 (WFC2020) will be the largest gathering of the research, industry and management sectors to discuss the latest advances in fisheries worldwide.


The Committee are keen to hear from any organisation who are keen to participate or showcase their organisation to 1500+ delegates from around the world and provide an opportunity to be part of and build the largest fisheries event and tradeshow in 2020. 


Download the Sponsorship and Exhibition prospectus or contact the Sponsorship and Exhibition Manager at and ask about the opportunities at WFC2020.

Key events 2019



More information

10-14 Jun

Seaweb Seafood Summit – Bangkok

6 Jul

Stay Afloat Tasmanian Seafood Awards (Hobart)

7-11 Jul

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

8-12 Jul

5th FRDC Australasian Scientific Conference on Aquatic Animal Health & Biosecurity, Cairns

25 Jul

WA Seafood Industry Awards (Perth)

25 Jul

NSW Seafood Industry Awards (Sydney)

26 Jul

SA Seafood Industry Awards (Adelaide)

29-31 Jul

Ridley Australian Prawn Farmers Association 2019 Symposium (Brisbane, QLD)

30-31 Jul

Trans-Tasman Abalone/Paua Convention (Hobart)

6-8 Aug

NSW Oyster Conference, Wallis Lake (Forster)

8-9 Aug

New Zealand Seafood Conference

11-13 Aug

Trans-Tasman Rock Lobster Congress (Queenstown, NZ)

11 Aug

Hervey Bay Seafood Festival (Hervey Bay, QLD)

14 Aug

San Remo Fishing Festival

15-17 Aug

Shellfish Futures (Orford, Tasmania)

21 Aug

NT Seafood Industry Awards

22-23 Aug

South Australian Oyster Industry Seminar

9-11 Oct

Seafood Directions (Melbourne)

14-17 Oct

Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference Annual Conference "Communicate to Illuminate & Inspire" (Canberra)

10-11 Dec

2019 National Recreational Fishing Conference (Hobart)


11-15 Oct 2020

8th World Fisheries Congress (Adelaide)

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

FRDC board meeting dates and locations



11-12 June


14-15 August



FRDC RAC meeting dates


Research Advisory Committee meetings

More information

4 July

New South Wales RAC

See the FRDC website -


11 July

Commonwealth RAC

16 July

Queensland RAC

18 July

Victorian RAC

25 July

Tasmanian RAC

26 July

Western Australian RAC

30 July

South Australian RAC

1 August

Northern Territory RAC


Key new projects approved since last update in March 2019

NOTE: some projects may not yet have been contracted

Project Number



Principle Investigator

Budget $


A framework for advancing social acceptance of the agriculture sector in Australia - A joint RDC initiative

AgriFutures Australia

Jen Medway



Harvest and slaughter methods for farmed Barramundi to minimise fish stress and achieve premium market quality and improved fish welfare outcomes

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)

Sue Poole



Developing primary school teacher kits for use by the Professional Fishers Association (NSW)

Honey and Fox Pty Ltd

Emily Mantilla



National Carp Control Plan NCCP Operations case study for the Torrumbarry to Swan Hill case study region and GIS support for two other NCCP case studies

The Wedge Group Pty Ltd

Karl Mathers



Bursaries for emerging leaders in the Southern rock lobster industry to attend the 2019 Trans-Tasman Lobster Congress

Southern Rocklobster Ltd

Tom Cosentino



Informing strategies, policies and options supporting owner-operated fishing businesses in fisheries experiencing corporatisation

Southern Rocklobster Ltd

Tom Cosentino



Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation National Recreational Fishing Conference 2019

Tasmanian Association for Recreational Fishing

Mark Nikolai



‘TekFish’ innovation + entrepreneurship (I+E) Platform for Disruptive Innovation: Create a global platform that will accelerate the discovery; development; adaptation; & adoption of disruptive innovations to solve key problems and/or opportunities for Australian Fishing & Aquaculture

Food Futures Company Pty Ltd

Christine Pitt



Forecasting spatial distribution of Southern Bluefin Tuna habitat in the Great Australian Bight – updating and improving habitat and forecast models

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Paige Eveson



Abalone assessment and management (workshop): what have we learned, what are the gaps and where can we do better

Abalone Council Australia Ltd

Ian Cartwright



National Carp Control Plan - Biosecurity Strategy for the Koi (Cyprinus carpio) industry

Future Fisheries Veterinary Service Pty Ltd

Matt Landos



National Carp Control Plan : Socio-economic impact assessment and stakeholder engagement

University of Canberra

Jacki Schirmer



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


Jason Tanner



Refine the Southern Rock Lobster Cold Chain

KPMG Australia

Peter Liddell



Custom training and technical support for the fishery stock assessment software ‘stock synthesis’

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)

Michael O"Neill



Cumulative Impact Risk Assessment Tool for Aquaculture in Australia

Nautilus Collaboration

Belinda Yaxley



Socio-economic characterisation of a small scale commercial fishery: opportunities to improve viability and profitability in the Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery

University of Tasmania

Jeremy Lyle



Population genomic assessment of Australian Blacklip Abalone for abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG) resistance

Deakin University

Adam Miller




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