Table of contents
Reporting guidelines


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Call for applications for non-executive directors for the FRDC board

Applications for non-executive directors of the FRDC board are due by Friday 13 April 2018.   Dr Michele Allan has been appointed as the Presiding Member by the Minister to chair and manage the process of nominating candidates to the minister for the FRDC board.  For information see

Funding round update

A total of 70 applications were received in the most recent open call round.  These are currently being assessed by the various FRDC Advisory Groups (RACs, IPAs and Subprograms) and undergoing confidential external reviews where the FRDC deems it necessary.  The first of these will go through the FRDC management evaluation process in April/May or to the June FRDC board meeting.

Overall, the quality of applications were high.  However, there are a number of sections in the applications that applicants should focus on to improve their likelihood of obtaining FRDC funding:

  • There needs to be a clear demonstration of the impact the expected project outputs will have in quantitative terms – i.e. increased production, decreased costs, and by how much. This forms an important consideration for the FRDC in the evaluation of projects.  This needs to be articulated in the Outputs and Outcomes section.
  • Clearly explain why the application represents value for money.  This relates to the funds requested and the activities to be undertaken.  Do application costs accurately/ appropriately reflect the activities to be undertaken?  This can be described in the Deliverables: Detail and Budget Justification section and relate directly back to the detail of that deliverable as well as the Methods. 
  • Who has requested the research? – i.e. clearly describe who has asked for this project and how that group will benefit from the outputs.  Even if addressing a priority in an open call applicants should discuss their research project with the relevant FRDC stakeholder group(s), contact details for all of these are on the FRDC website Partners.  This should be detailed in the Consultation and Need sections.
  • Clearly explain all project data and material and how this will be provided to the FRDC, including; photos, raw data and additional publications.  This needs to be articulated in the Data Type & Management section.  If there is background IP that requires protection by the applicant, this should also be flagged here.
  • Under application details, intellectual property there are three choices.
  • A is for material to be made available in the public domain including the final report with no protection of IP.
  • Category B is where there is the need for some protection of project material such as confidential information for example individual survey data that will not be made publicly available. Under category B the FRDC will require a final report that will be made publicly available with the information provided in an aggregated form protecting the confidential information.
  • Category C is for projects that are commercial in confidence or require significant levels of IP protection.  Final reports for these projects will not be available for a predetermined embargo period.  After this time the final report will be made available

Any priorities nominated from the current round of stakeholder group meetings will be developed into a call for applications in April, and will be advertised by the FRDC.

Status of Australia Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports Update

Face-to-Face visits with jurisdictions

FRDC staff members delivered a comprehensive coverage of the SAFS 2018 process to each jurisdiction throughout February, with primary focus on the SAFS 2018 timeline; responsibilities of authors; the revised stock status classification system; species chapter template including data entry/checks; and the dedicated SharePoint Online site.  The information sessions were well attended and received.  In addition, information on the new ‘SAFS Jurisdictional model’ was presented to Queensland authors.  Queensland is the first jurisdiction to agree to trial this model that will facilitates cross jurisdictional report generation.  The model uses system workflows for approval and reviewing processes; and enables the production of the jurisdictional public reports, including non-SAFS species; updates in-between SAFS publishing timelines; cross-jurisdictional data sharing; and common language and translation.

Reducing the number of undefined species

Malcolm Haddon and his CSIRO colleagues will be visiting jurisdictions throughout March and May conducting training workshops on the stock assessments of data limited species, ensuring that the state and territory-based scientists involved with SAFS assessments understand how to use data-poor assessment methods to develop defensible stock status reports, and thereby reducing the number of undefined species.  These activities are funded through FRDC project 2017-102.

Upcoming SAFS Advisory Group meeting

The SAFS Advisory Group will meet 26-27 March in Melbourne to progress SAFS 2018.  Items to be discussed include:

  • Negligible stock submissions
  • Overview and feedback from the first training workshop in data limited methodology to inform subsequent jurisdictional workshops to be held in March and May (i.e. what worked well?; areas for improvement)
  • Providing scientific evidence of how stock status was derived in terms of biomass and fishing mortality when there is no published stock assessment – pro forma and referencing
  • Agreed stock structure for the 120 species/species complexes
  • Mapping overfished (depleted) and transitional-recovering (recovering) stocks and tracking progress (update)
  • 2018 Authors Guide
  • SAFS 2016 and beyond draft final report – for SAFS Advisory Group input
  • Update on the potential future project on bycatch reporting.

The 2018 SAFS reports will be launched in December 2018 (

Seafood Sustainability and the Community Reporting


FRDC has launched an online business to business risk assessment tool “Whichfish” that will assist businesses who trade or sell wild caught seafood to determine the stock, environmental and management risks associated with the seafood they buy and sell. The Whichfish website is aimed specifically to assist seafood buyers make better informed decisions.  The site currently features the first twenty-six Australian species including Saddletail Snapper, Eastern King Prawn, Balmain Bugs and Deepwater Flathead; with more species to be added throughout the year.

Each assessment includes an outlook section to indicate whether risks are likely to lessen, remain stable or worsen. Risk assessment reports are available online or the entire list downloaded for future reference at

Whichfish was developed in conjunction with Seafood NZ – with their analogous OpenSeas platform (   Whichfish uses elements from the GSSI Benchmarked Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Standard version 2.0.  The site shows seafood products (from fisheries) that have been third party certified by a scheme benchmarked to the Global Seafood Sustainable Initiative Criteria.

Australian Fisheries Management Guidelines

The Australian Fisheries Management Guidelines (project 2015-203) are progressing well, and it is anticipated that a set of best practice fisheries management guidelines will be complete by the end of the year.  Australia, like New Zealand, has developed Australian Fisheries Science Guidelines.  The goal is to develop these into an Australian Fisheries Science Standard.  Phase 2 of the Healthcheck project will be identifying social, economic and other indicators (such as Greenhouse Gas emissions) for Australian fisheries that will be made available to a range of users.  These outputs could then be considered for incorporation into Whichfish.  

Fish-X Microhack Program

The FRDC has engaged X-Lab, a leader in start-up science, to coordinate and run ‘microhack’ workshops and a follow up mentoring program.  The microhack program is aimed at broadening business thinking horizons and challenge participants to answer key questions to develop their business or ideas.  One workshop has already been held, with two further workshops scheduled for this year.  The next workshop will be held 5-6 June 2018 with applications closing on the 4th of May. More information can be found at

The program provides a space for researchers to connect with primary producers for two days to imagine what the future of primary industry in Australia could look like.  It offers an opportunity to spark creative synergies between people with different backgrounds.  True innovation is challenging, but providing the right environment can prove a fertile ground.

Anyone in the Australian fishing and aquaculture – 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.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Data – Precision to Decision launch

The Accelerating Precision Agriculture to Decision Agriculture Report was launched by the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. David Littleproud MP at the ABARES Outlook Conference.  The Precision to Decision project is the first to involve the collaboration of all 15 RDCS – focusing on how best to realise the potential of data in agriculture, as well as address any barriers to realise this potential.  The suite of reports produced as part of the project highlight current deficiencies in digital leadership, trust and legal barriers, value proposition, connectivity, availability of data, digital literacy and decision support tools.  Recommendations to resolve these deficiencies facilitate opportunities for policy, strategy, leadership, digital literacy and enablers.  The RDCS are now in the process of considering how to best implement the recommendations across their respective industries.

The Precision to Decision reports can be viewed here:

Blue Carbon

Carbon neutrality can be achieved by an entity offsetting its emissions either by emissions reduction activities within its own operations, or through supporting ‘offset projects’ that undertake activities to counterbalance original emissions production (e.g. by planting trees or potentially mangroves).

The regulatory frameworks surrounding carbon neutrality and associated accreditation are broad and very complex.   In summary, there are currently no marine-based ‘offset projects’ that can be used to offset marine impacts under any regulated scheme.  So while there are currently no barriers to the Australian fishing industry achieving carbon neutrality through terrestrial based offset activities, there is work to be done before the fishing industry can offset primarily marine-based emissions through marine based, or Blue Carbon ‘offset projects’.

The FRDC is involved in a number of activities that attempt to resolve the policy barriers to including marine-based offset projects under regulated carbon offset schemes including the AgriFutures lead Improving carbon markets to increase farmer participation project and the Department of Environment and Energy (DoEE) lead Technical review of opportunities for including blue carbon in the Emissions Reduction Fund project.  

National Safety and Welfare RD&E Initiative

The FRDC is working with stakeholders to coordinate a national RD&E marine safety and welfare initiative.  This initiative will have a national goal of zero deaths, 80% reduction in workplace injuries and 100% compliance of national and jurisdiction work safety laws/rules.  The initiative has 4 key areas: (i) behaviour, (ii) education/tools, (iii) communication and (iv) adoption.

As part of the development of education/tools, the FRDC has recently partnered with Austral Fisheries to invest in 2017-194 “Fishing Industry Safety Hub - Delivering Industry Safety through Electronic Learning”.  This project has the following objectives:

  1. Design and trial the electronic Learning Management System (LMS) in the Northern Prawn Fishery, and up to three other Australian domestic fisheries.  Monitor the uptake, utility, and determine feedback on ease of use and applicability from the trials, to help make necessary modifications before distribution to others.
  2. Create linkages and pathways for the LMS to be taken up by industry associations and agencies to be used in championing the improvement in safety culture and training with on-ground fishers.
  3. Based on the trials, facilitate further development of "fishery specific" modules via assistance from the PI and technical input from consultants (365 Solutions) to improve efficiency of the program and direct relevance to specific fisheries/sectors and/or agencies.
  4. Utilise information from existing in-progress and under development safety projects funded by FRDC to ensure that the LMS is designed to optimise adoption and uptake by industry.
  5. Identify and, where feasible, implement mechanisms to integrate the LMS into the overall marine safety program aimed at changing the culture and behaviour towards safety of the fishing industry.

The project will initially focus on Australia’s prawn trawl fisheries, but will also be extended more broadly to industry associations around the country.  The project will also draw on the outputs from 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”, which is exploring safety barriers and then generating a stronger safety culture in the wild catch commercial fishing industry; and is addressing the key area of behaviour.

These activities will be brought together in an application under development to develop and enact a national occupational health and safety extension strategy.  These activities will then be coordinated through a steering committee comprised of practitioners and industry to identify a network of industry champions and link to activities undergoing additional development such as the Southern Rocklobster Clean Green program.

Animal Welfare

A project is being developed to review the animal welfare material developed to date and identify any future requirements.  A number of workshops and interviews will take place with industry to gauge the effectiveness and utility of the codes of practice for capture fisheries as well as other animal welfare material developed (/en/Environment/Aquatic-Animal-Welfare/AAW---Research).  This information will be used to determine whether the material is fit for purpose or requires revision.  Additionally, gaps in RD&E will be identified that require attention.

National Carp Control Plan

The National Carp Control Plan is advancing well and achieving good progress across all program areas.  At the core of this national program is a focus on a smart, safe, effective and integrated combination of measures to control carp impacts in Australia.  Biocontrol using a species-specific virus is central to the focus of this national program that seeks to reduce carp numbers and impacts in order to deliver benefit to water quality, aquatic vegetation, native species, fishing and tourism.

Research, science, and technology

All projects under the NCCP are making good progress towards completion.  Independent researchers from several Australian universities and research institutions are working collaboratively on approximately 12 projects with a total value of $5 million to investigate implications of carp control measures proposed for aquatic ecology, virology and epidemiology, water management, social science and human health.

Principal Investigators for all NCCP-funded research projects are now meeting quarterly at a workshop to discuss project interdependencies, enhance collaboration, and identify efficiencies.
Research outputs will be progressively made publicly available during 2018 following peer review.

Policy, legislation, and regulation

Systematic, quantitative risk assessment research to support the process of developing plans and reports necessary to achieve Strategic Assessment under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is now underway.  Additionally, an application seeking approval of Cyprinid herpesvirus-3 (the carp virus) as safe and effective for use by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority is currently being reviewed.  NCCP Policy Advisory Group members are currently considering additional approvals required under legislation administered by states and territories.

Communications and engagement

Communication and engagement activities are advancing well.  Those involved in developing the NCCP have been engaged in conversations with river communities via communication and engagement processes to capture issues, concerns and ideas.  During 2017 and 2018, the NCCP team visited some 41 locations, and convened 82 events, talking about the varying impacts of the carp control and building early awareness of the process supporting development of the NCCP, risks and management strategies including clean-up in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and the ACT.

A range of communications and marketing collateral has been produced to communicate the NCCP’s key messages and announcements, available from the program website

Since 30 June 2017 203 articles have been captured by media monitoring mentioning the NCCP and carp.  146 articles (72 per cent) were positive in sentiment, 25 articles (12 per cent) were negative, and 33 articles (16 per cent) were neutral.

Drafting of the NCCP and Operations Strategy are now underway, and will continue to be informed by research and consultation during 2018.

Key events 2018



More information

12-18 March

Sustainable Seafood Week Australia

11-14 March

Seafood Expo North America

17-18 Mar

Mandurah Crab Fest

24-26 April

Seafood Expo Global

5 May

Narooma Oyster Festival

8-12 May

10th International Abalone Symposium

8 June

World Oceans Day

18 -21 June

SeaWeb Seafood Summit

(link no longer active)

1-5 July

2018 Annual Australian Marine Sciences Association Conference



Research Advisory Committee meetings

More information

20 March 2018

QLDRAC (by invitation)

See the FRDC website -


22 March 2018

COMRAC (by invitation)

27 March 2018

WARAC (by invitation)

28 March 2018

VICRAC (by invitation)

5 April 2018

TASRAC (by invitation)


FRDC board meeting dates

19-20 Apr 2018

FRDC Board Meeting, Adelaide

02 6285 0400

13-14 June

FRDC Board Meeting, Hervey Bay

02 6285 0400

See the FRDC website for more events (


New projects approved since last update in December 2017

NOTE: may not yet be contracted

Project Number




Budget ($)


Insect protein for aquaculture feed

University of Western Australia

Jan Hemmi



Workshop to implement a National Approach to Australian Salmon Market Development and Supply.

Curtin University

Janet Howieson



Informing adaptive management of portunid fisheries in New South Wales

NSW Department of Primary Industries

Matt Taylor



Indigenous Capacity Building Program

Fishwell Consulting Pty Ltd

Ian Knuckey



Valuing Victoria"s Wild-catch fisheries and aquaculture industries

University of Technology Sydney

Kate Barclay



NCCP: the likely medium- to long-term ecological outcomes of major carp population reductions

University of Canberra

Susan J. Nichols



Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram: Identification of differentially expressed innate immune genes in the New Zealand paua (Haliotis iris) and the Australian hybrid abalone (H. laevigata X H. rubra) upon immersion challenge with the abalone herpesvirus-1 (HaHV).

CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory

Serge Corbeil



Media messages about sustainable seafood: how do media influencers affect consumer attitudes?

University of Adelaide North Terrace Campus

Michelle Phillipov



Development of prawn fleet spatial management and profitability tools using tablet based technologies

Real Time Data Pty Ltd

Simon Dick



Innovative Pipi harvesting based on real time biological and economic data

Goolwa PipiCo

Tom S. Robinson



Human Dimensions Research Subprogram: Social Matters Workshop

Deakin University

Tanya King



Human Dimensions Research Subprogram: Determinates of socially-supported wild-catch and aquaculture fisheries in Australia

University of Tasmania

Karen A. Alexander



Human Dimensions Research Subprogram: Retrospective assessment of ITQs to inform research needs and to improve their future design and performance

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Sean Pascoe



NCCP: 2018 Communications & Stakeholder Engagement Program

Sefton and Associates Pty Ltd

Robbie Sefton



Adopting intensive bio-secure hatchery protocols and improving dietary strategies for grow-out to support the emerging cobia (Rachycentron canadum) aquaculture industry in Queensland

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)

Jose A. Domingos



Assessing the nutritional value of Australian Barramundi

James Cook University

Waldo Nuez



Real time monitoring of water quality and mechanisation of pond management to boost productivity and increase profit.

James Cook University

Dean Jerry



Auditing research effort on aquaculture species and industry adoption for production growth


Tung Hoang



ASBTIA IPA: Investigating aetiology and risk factors of ocular lesions and associated mortality in ranched Southern Bluefin Tuna

University of Adelaide

Charles Caraguel



Linking ecosystem services to the profitability of prawn fisheries


Ian Cresswell



Exploring the occurrence and potential associated risk factors for Pilchard Orthomyxovirus (POMV) in Tasmanian farmed Atlantic salmon

University of Adelaide

Charles Caraguel



A review of projects concerned with improved exploitation of underutilized species

Dr Leonard Stephens

Len Stephens



Environmental and Economic accounting in Primary Industries (Natural Capital Accounting) - RRD4P Lead by FWPA

Forrest and Wood Products Australia

Jim Houghton



Fishing Industry Safety Hub - Delivering Industry Safety through Electronic Learning

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council Inc

Steve Eayrs



Initial Development of an Australian Standard for aquatic plant names

Alan Snow Konsulting

Alan J. Snow


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