Table of contents
Commerical wildcatch


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FRDC organisational restructure update

The new organisation chart has been posted on the FRDC web site with all the new positions.

The new staff positions are:



Project Manager (p/t)



Project Manager



Project Manager



Project Officer (p/t)



Project Officer (p/t)



Project Officer (Graduate)

The FRDC as part of the new RD&E plan, has begun restructuring the internal management of RD&E.

The new plan now has the elements of Lead, Collaborate and Partner. We have changed the way we manage the FRABs. We have internalised the management of these jurisdictional entities and have also changed their names to Research Advisory Committees (RACs). In internalising the management we have employed four new staff members to manage the RACs. These managers will manage the meetings, prioritisation process, advice to the FRDC board, manage projects and assist in extension. Each RAC manager will have 4 RACs to manage. The new RAC Managers are

Chris Izzo:

  • Tasmanian RAC
  • Victorian RAC
  • South Australian RAC
  • Commonwealth RAC

Skye Barrett:

  • Western Australian RAC
  • Northern Territory RAC
  • Queensland RAC
  • New South Wales RAC

Chris and Skye will be supported by Alison Connelly and Leah Fergusson who will be providing RAC support such as the setting and provision of agendas, meeting papers and minutes as follows:

Leah Fergusson:

  • Western Australian RAC
  • Northern Territory RAC
  • Queensland RAC
  • New South Wales RAC

Alison Connelly

  • Tasmanian RAC
  • Victorian RAC
  • South Australian RAC
  • Commonwealth RAC

Nicole Stubing also joins the FRDC from the 1st of June to the 1st of December in a graduate position to obtain an appreciation and assist in research project management as well as potentially obtaining complimentary skills in fisheries research and management.

The Industry Partnership Agreements will remain largely unchanged with the only difference being that the FRDC will allocate a staff member to assist in the management of a set of IPAs as we have the RACs. This manager will be there from start to finish with planning, prioritising application development and evaluation, project management and finalisation.

We have recently employed Wayne Hutchinson as a project manager and he will be managing:

  • Australian Barramundi Farmers Association IPA
  • Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association IPA
  • Australian Prawn Farmers Association IPA
  • Australian Abalone Growers Association IPA
  • Safefish
  • Yellowtail Kingfish RD&E through the R&D for Profit program

Jo‐Anne Ruscoe will be managing:

  • Oysters Australia IPA
  • Pearling IPA
  • Social Science and Economics Research Coordination Program
  • Indigenous Fishing Subprogram
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram
  • People Development (National)

Joshua Fielding will be managing:

  • Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association IPA
  • Southern Rocklobster IPA
  • Abalone Council of Australia IPA
  • Recfishing Research Subprogram
  • New and Emerging Aquaculture Subprogram

Annette Lyons will be responsible for:

  • Contracts development
  • Contracts exchange
  • Financial management
  • Program support

Carolyn Stewardson will be managing

  • The Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2016:
  • Commonwealth SAFS input  
  • Western Australian SAFS input
  • Northern Territory SAFS input
  • Queensland SAFS input
  • New South Wales SAFS input
  • Victorian SAFS input
  • Tasmanian SAFS input
  • South Australia SAFS input

Crispian Ashby will be managing:

  • Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries IPA
  • Western Rocklobster IPA
  • National Priority 1    
  • National Priority 2
  • Overall Programs activities

Research Advisory Committee update

The Research Advisory Committees met in March as part of the new structure. The RACs were provided with the draft RAC procedure that outlines the operations of the RAC. The RACs were also provided the template for the RAC RD&E Strategic Plan which will form the basis for the jurisdictional priority setting process for the life of the FRDC 2015‐2020 RD&E Plan.

The membership of the RACs have been extended to July 2016 whilst the process for renewing the membership of the RACs is undertaken. The Jurisdictions in partnership with the FRDC will be undertaking a call for expressions of interest for RAC membership and the position of Chair for each jurisdiction. This call will be administered through the sector based peak industry bodies, jurisdictional management agencies and the FRDC"s networks.


FRDC's 2015‐20 RD&E Plan

The FRDC is now well underway implementing the RD&E Plan for 2015‐20. Work on the 2016 Stock Status Reports is progressing well and work is progressing on the establishment and work program for a new and emerging aquaculture subprogram. There is still some work to be done on priority 2 around productivity and profitability but there is continued work on small scale fisheries under this priority and the FRDC is progressing the establishment of some other related activities.

Refer: FRDC RD&E Plan 2015-2020

To see an overview of the plan visit


Flexible Investment approach

As part of the new plan, the FRDC will be adopting a more flexible approach for application submission and assessment. A summary of the process is as follows:

  1. RACs, IPAs and Subprograms will develop their priorities from July to September
  2. At their September/October meeting the priorities will be discussed and shortlisted for the coming financial year
  3. FRDC will organise a RAC, IPA and Subprogram workshop for the developed priorities to be discussed and synergies and collaboration discussed
  4. For finalised priorities, the first call for applications will be posted in November
  5. First call closing date for applications will be 15 February
  6. These applications will be assessed by the RACs, Subprograms and IPAs in March
  7. FRDC will assess these applications in April and notify applicants in April/May
  8. The second call for applications will be developed, as required, following the RAC, Subprogram and IPA meetings in March
  9. Submission of the second call for applications will be 15 June
  10. These applications will be assessed by the RACs, Subprograms and IPAs in July
  11. FRDC will assess these applications in August and notify applicants in August/September
  12. The third call for applications will be developed, as required, following the RAC, Subprogram and IPA meetings in July
  13. Submission of the third call for applications will be 15 September
  14. These applications will be assessed by the RACs, Subprograms and IPAs in October
  15. FRDC will assess these applications in November and notify applicants in November/December
  16. Repeat step 1

Where a RAC, Subprogram and IPA has available funds and wishes to address a short term issue with a budget of less than $175,000 with the research considered low risk by the FRDC, an application can be submitted at any time.

When developing an application the following flow chart describes who to contact. 

Fishing and Aquaculture RD&E Strategy Update

The governance committee that oversees the implementation of the RD&E Strategy met in Canberra in early April. The Strategy document is now finalised and is being implemented by most partners. A major component of this document is the leading and supporting roles which each partner will undertake in the various areas of RD&E relevant to the Strategy (see table below). A finalised document will be cleared through the jurisdictional approval processes shortly.

The governance committee will continue to meet and assess the implementation of the RD&E Strategy, assessing where they may be able to ensure the adequate implementation. The Chair role of the governance committee has recently been handed over to the Australian Fisheries Management Forum with Ian Curnow from NT Fisheries taking the role. The FRDC will continue to provide EO functions for this forum.

Status of Australia Fish Stocks (SAFS) reports update

The Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) reports has become widely recognised as a key source of information on the sustainability of key commercial fish species. Managed by the FRDC and overseen by the SAFS Advisory Committee, the reports collate available biological, catch and effort information to determine the status of Australia"s key wild catch fish stocks against a nationally agreed reporting framework.

The third edition of the reports will be published online in December 2016 and will include an additional 15 species bringing the total number of species or species complexes will be 83:

  • Patagonian Toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides
  • Mackerel Icefish Champsocephalus gunnari
  • Orange Roughy Hoplostethus atlanticu
  • Albacore Thunnus alalunga
  • Blue‐eye Trevalla Hyperoglyphe antarctica
  • West Australian Dhufish Glaucosoma hebraicum
  • Spotted Mackerel Scomberomorus munroi
  • King Threadfin Polydactylus macrochir
  • Silver Trevally Pseudocaranx dentex
  • Luderick Girella tricuspidata
  • Blue Mackerel Scomber australasicus
  • Snook Sphyraena novaehollandiae
  • Venus Clam Venerupis spp
  • Silverlip Pearl Oyster Pinctada maxima
  • Vongole (Mud Cockle) Katelysia spp

The SAFS Advisory Group held its first meeting under the FRDC"s new management structure in December 2015, and FRDC staff met with the SAFS author teams in each fishery jurisdiction in February 2016 to discuss the production process. More than 80 authors are involved in producing the reports.

In March and April 2016, the SAFS Advisory Group held workshops in Melbourne to discuss future reports. Key topics included how to address the issue of undefined stocks, and the possibility of incorporating "equivalence" recognition with other sustainability classification systems.

To increase the efficiency of the SAFS reports production and publication process, the FRDC is developing a dynamic web‐platform. A long‐term aim of the web‐platform is to allow for ongoing updates of stock status information as it becomes available in different jurisdictions. The SAFS authors are currently using Microsoft SharePoint to write their species chapters.

Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome update

Following the POMS outbreak in Tasmania the FRDC has provided the following emergency R&D responses:

  1. $75,000 funding for Oysters Tasmania to support timely information to industry, coordinate data collection, and develop coordinated State industry responses for recovery phases
  2. $25,000 funding to Oysters Australia to develop a Plan to guide a national industry response to Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS). The Plan identifies a suite of actions and R&D priorities to improve the industry"s capacity to recover from this event, and build resilience for future growth and sustainability.
  3. $50,000 to Australian Seafood Industries Pty. Ltd. for the:
    - rescue of the latest generation of all ASI family lines by transferring selectively bred spat produced in December / January from Shellfish Culture
    Ltd to a quarantine facility at IMAS.
    - assessment of the survival rate of brood stock of all ASI oyster family lines located in areas exposed to the POMS virus.
    - multiplication of the best family lines with the highest survival rate as soon as possible to enable hatcheries to provide spat for a Progressive Industry Recovery Program.
    - acceleration of the existing ASI breeding program to produce higher levels of POMS resistance as quickly as possible.
  4. $5,000 to Sydney University (Managed by Richard Whittington) for travel and sustenance of researchers to undertake an audit of mortalities and risk factors on selected farms.
  5. Assisted Oysters Australia preparing a proposal to the Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC‐Ps) funding stream. The lead organisation is Australian seafood Industries (ASI) Pty Ltd.  If not successful, the FRDC will work with Oysters Australia and partners identified in the CRC‐P bid to determine capacity to address a more focused list of research priorities aligned with the national response plan.

Government assistance:

The Commonwealth government has announced a $1.47 million assistance package to deliver critical measures to manage, contain and understand the incursion of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) in Tasmania‐Releases/support‐for‐tasmanian‐oyster‐growers.aspx

The Tasmanian Government (Minister Rockliff) has also announced a $7.6 million POMS recovery package$7.6m_in_state_government_support_for_oyster_farmers

Indigenous fishing subprogram

The Indigenous Reference Group (IRG) oversees the FRDC"s Indigenous Fishing Subprogram. The IRG facilitated its third broad stakeholder workshop in Cairns in March. Attendees endorsed the work that the IRG has undertaken to date and commented on the importance of the research undertaken and are encouraging of continued research which delivers concrete outputs for Indigenous fishers and Indigenous communities. The IRG is currently overseeing a portfolio of ten projects, with an annual investment in RD&E of around $460,000. 

Key current projects include:

2015‐205 - Indigenous fishing subprogram: Mapping livelihood values of Indigenous customary fishing, Rod Kennet, AIATSIS
This project will develop a set of tools that can be used to explain the value of Indigenous fisheries to policymakers. Case studies are occurring in NSW South, Milingimbi, Ceduna/Streaky Bay to Eucla.

2014‐233 - Improving access for Indigenous Australians to, and involvement in the use and management of, Australia"s fisheries resources, Stephan Schnierer, Consultant
This project is evaluating status of fisheries management approaches taken in each jurisdiction to address Indigenous fisheries interests in order to; (i) identify achievements and gaps, (ii) build on recent achievements made in this area, (iii) benchmark management approaches in each jurisdiction with national and international best practice. Cases studies located in NSW, SA and NT/Qld.

2014‐226 - Improving the recognition and integration of traditional owner customary fishing and ecological knowledge in the management of Victoria"s fisheries, Michael Gilby – ECODEV VIC This project will establish a customary fishing database that identifies hunting grounds and use categories of fish species, and develop a structured and targeted approach to engagement with Victoria"s Traditional Owner community.

2013‐218 - Indigenous fishing subprogram: Building the Capacity and Performance ofIndigenous Fisheries, Ewan Colquhoun ‐ Ridge Partners
This project is assessing indigenous fishery governance/enterprise/management models in 8 case study communities across Australia. The learnings will provide models, performance monitoring arrangements, and recommendations to enhance indigenous participation in, and benefits from, fishery development.

2012‐216 - Indigenous cultural fishing and fisheries governance, Stephan Schnierer, SCU Recently completed, the project builds on an earlier pilot study, Project No. 2009/308, which examined the nature and dimensions of Aboriginal cultural fishing in the Tweed region of far northern New South Wales. This project sought to adapt the methodology used in the Tweed study to collect data on catch for application in other regions of NSW; and facilitate the development of a local Aboriginal fisheries management strategy/plan for the Tweed Aboriginal community.

Key events 2016

23 to 27 May

7th World Fisheries Congress, Busan, Korea

4 to 7 July

NZ Marine Sciences Society and Australian Marine
Sciences Association joint conference – Sharing Ocean Resources – Now and in the future, Wellington, NZ‐amsa‐

11 to 15 July

International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade Conference, Aberdeen, Scotland


12 July

Queensland RAC


14 July

Victorian RAC


18 July



4 to 6 Aug

ASEAN Fisheries and Aquaculture Conference and
Exposition 2016, Bangkok International Trade &
Exhibition Centre, Bangkok, Thailand

31 August

NZ Seafood Industry Conference

4 to 7

ASFB and Oceania Chondrichthyan Society Joint 2016 conference, Hobart, Tasmania.

FRDC board meeting dates



24‐25 August 2016


22‐23 November 2016



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