Table of contents
Accessing new markets

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Appointment of new FRDC Chair

On 1 September, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce, announced the appointment of the Hon. Ron Boswell as the new FRDC chair.


Ron Boswell represented the Nationals in the Australian Senate for Queensland from 1983 to 2014, and led the party in the Senate from 1990 to 2007. In 2008 he became Father of the Senate.


Over the course of his political career Ron was the leader of the National Party in the Senate from 10 April 1990 to 3 December 2007, holding many positions in the Coalition shadow ministry including Shadow Minister for Regional Development and External Territories (from September 1988 to April 1990), Shadow Minister for Northern Australia and External Territories (April 1993 to May 1994) and Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs (May 1994 to December 1994).   Ron was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services in July 1999, and left the position in October 2003.


Ron is a strong advocate for Australia’s primary producers and improving their productivity and profitability based on the best knowledge available.


The Hon Harry Woods’ term finished as the FRDC Board Chair on the 30 August. Harry steered the FRDC through a period of transition, overseeing the launch of the FRDC’s new RD&E plan in 2015, as well as a period of corporate revitalisation that culminated in the opening of the Adelaide Office earlier this year.   He will be remembered by FRDC staff with affection. He was well liked for his considerate approach and efforts to get to know staff members individually.


Commonwealth Government priority focus areas

With the return of the Turnbull Coalition government the key priority areas for fishing and aquaculture over the next 12 months are most likely to be:

  • Establishment of a Commonwealth Recreational Fishing Advisory Council
  • Supporting the National Seafood Industry Alliance (NSIA) peak body project
  • Incorporating the recreational and Indigenous fishing in the AFMA Fishing Act
  • Government response to the Productivity Commission Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture report – government response ( )
  • Development of the National Aquaculture Strategy
  • Revision of the Commonwealth Harvest Policy and Guidelines
  • Revision of the Commonwealth Bycatch Policy and Guidelines
  • Government response to the review of Commonwealth Marine Reserves
  • Development of a Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) recreational fishing survey
  • Development of an economic and social survey of recreational fishing
  • PIRD Act changes to allow FRDC to collect voluntary marketing contributions


Research Advisory Committee update

The newly appointed RAC Project Managers and Project Officers completed the last round of RAC meetings prior to a call for applications for new membership.   At each meeting RAC Project Managers and Project Officers were personally introduced, along with a description of their active roles in the guidance and management of the RAC’s.


The call for new members and Chairs for the RACs was made following the July RAC meetings.   The application period has since closed and Patrick Hone and the jurisdictional Fisheries Directors are selecting the members of the new RACs.   These will be in place for the upcoming RAC meetings for NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia Northern Territory and Queensland. Note that under the previous (FRAB) selection process, the Tasmanian RAC was appointed by the Minister, and FRDC is seeking consent to lead that process into the future. It is expected that this will be resolved by the end of September.   The previous FRAB structure will remain until this is finalised and a new call for membership for the Tasmanian RAC occurs.


The next round of RAC meetings will take place on the last week of September and the first two weeks in October.   In these meetings, the new RAC members and Chairs will undergo the induction process being developed by the FRDC based upon the RAC Management Procedure and Investment Framework Policy.   The induction process will include access to, and the use of the new SharePoint system.


RD&E Plans for each RAC are in the process of being finalised in time for the Annual Planning Workshop for all RAC’s and IPA’s on October 26th & 27th in Adelaide.   The Workshop provides a forum for all RACs and IPAs to present their respective RD&E Plans to aid in identifying common priority areas and opportunities for collaboration among the jurisdictional and sector based groups.   The Workshop will also be attended by external consultants and representatives from FRDC sub-programs (e.g. Social Sciences and Economics Research Coordination Program).


FRDC’s 2015-20 RD&E Plan

Key achievements under the 2015-20 RD&E Plan:

    • LEAD

  • As part of priority one, SAFS reports (see update below) are being developed and will be published in December this year, the number of species covered has been increased by 15 (see section below for more details). A number of other projects or programs have been initiated and will see further development this year related to improving our knowledge of undefined species and approaches for data limited fisheries. It is likely that a subprogram will be established to support the RD&E required to address priority one.

  • A number of activities have begun under priority two of the RD&E Plan (improving productivity and profitability). This includes continuing the work in the sustainable use of currently underutilised species begun under the Seafood CRC, developing a national approach to habitat rehabilitation for the recreational fishing sector and expanding work to communicate the social contribution of fishing and aquaculture across all sectors.

  • The FRDC has established a subprogram to help guide work in the new and emerging aquaculture space. An audit of previous RD&E on aquaculture is about to begin which will provide a database of information that will be published on-line as well as helping the subprogram to better plan areas for investment.

  • In terms of the other subprograms (Recfishing Research, Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity, Indigenous), these are all continuing to prioritise and invest in their key areas.


  • The FRDC is yet to fully implement this area and is currently working to encourage partners to co-invest in the national priority areas, subprograms/coordination programs and other areas of national infrastructure such as people development.



  • Most IPA’s continue to work well investing in their planned priority areas and achieving tangible outcomes for industry. There are several that are underinvesting which contributed to the underspend issue that FRDC had at the end of the 2015/16 financial year which must be rectified. There are also several that need to develop or update their RD&E plans.

  • RACs are in the process of re-establishing membership and chairmanship. Once this process is completed the RD&E Planning process can be finalised.

Key activities areas for 2016-17

  • Finalisation of Science guidelines

  • Finalisation of the RAC RD&E plans

  • Completion of the 2016 Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports

  • The New and Emerging Aquaculture Opportunities Subprogram (NEAO) to target the third round of the Rural R&D for Profit Programme with a northern Australian aquaculture project

  • NEAO to finalise audit and RD&E Plan

  • Completion of a scan of potential people development needs for Australian fishing and aquaculture

  • Launch of the new FRDC websites

Refer: /Research/RDE-planning-and-priorities


To see an overview of the plan visit


Fishing and Aquaculture RD&E Strategy Update

The Strategy document is now finalised and is being implemented by all partners. The finalised document is being prepared for publication and should be published in the coming months.


The governance committee will continue to meet and assess the implementation of the RD&E Strategy, ensuring 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.   The researcher provider network will also continue to meet and report back to the governance committee.


More information and a draft document of the Strategy can be found on the FRDC website /Research/RDE-planning-and-priorities/National-RDE-strategy-for-fishing-and-aquaculture


Development of FRDC’s new data management policy and procedure

FRDC has invested significant research funding, yet has not directly pursued the collection of the resultant research data, rather trusting that research providers have in place sufficient internal data management processes.


The FRDC acknowledges the inherent value of resultant research data that have arisen through its funding activities.   FRDC is seeking options to ensure that research data is suitably archived and made accessible.   The FRDC are developing a new data management policy and procedure, which will define the value of data and provide guidance towards the publishing, linking and sharing data.


People development – understanding needs

FRDC has contracted Food and Agribusiness Services to help understand the people development RD&E priorities of our partners (RACs, IPAs and Subprograms). The project will identify where there are areas for potential co-investment; existing programs to address those priorities; and gaps in services that need to be addressed.   Ross Ord is the Principal Investigator on the project.   He will be working with FRDC management and partners to present this information in late October.


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 which brings the total count to 83 species or species complexes.

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 also currently using Microsoft SharePoint to write their species chapters.


The build of this web platform is in progress, with the key focus on delivering expectations of (i) complete species chapters views (PDF printable), (ii) state based views (PDF printable), and (iii) increased search functionality.   The reports will be web-enabled and mobile device enabled; and provide users with a short concise summary (snapshot) on first view with the ability to drill down to more detailed information.


At this point in time, authors from all jurisdictions have submitted approximately half of the species chapters to the FRDC. These chapters are now in varying stages of ‘consistency and technical review’ or ‘external peer review’.   More than 50 external peer reviewers contribute to the production of species chapters.


Also see ‘More species to expand key fish stock reports’ was published in Fish Magazine (Volume 24 Number 2, June 2016, p 25) /Media-and-Publications/FISH


Carp biological control

Carp are among the top 100 most invasive species in the world, make up more than 80% of fish biomass in many parts of the Murray-Darling Basin, and are now found in all states and territories with the exception of the Northern Territory.


A naturally occurring virus known as the Carp herpesvirus has been identified as a promising candidate for the biological control of European Carp. Research undertaken over the last 8 years by CSIRO has confirmed that Carp present in Australia are highly vulnerable to the virus, and that non target species, including native species, do not develop the disease.


$15 million has been committed by the Australian Government over 2.5 years to enable development of a national Carp control plan.   This investment will facilitate: national coordination of planning and communication activities; delivery of stakeholder education and consultation activities and outputs; completion of research to address remaining knowledge gaps; augmentation of pre-release benchmark monitoring; and, completion of risk assessment activities to ensure preparedness for possible release of the Carp herpesvirus.


Over coming months governance arrangements will be established to facilitate inter-jurisdictional engagement on this issue, and to finalise a work plan for the next 2.5 years including a program of research to address remaining knowledge gaps.


For more information go to:


FRDC to manage technical barriers to trade on behalf of DAWR

The FRDC is assisting the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to undertake a review of commercially significant non‑tariff barriers affecting Australia’s highly-traded or trade-ambitious agricultural commodities across key markets.


The project will work with other Rural Research and Development Corporations and will focus on a small number of these highly-traded or trade-ambitious primary industry commodities as case studies. 


The project will focus on the countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which include China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and ASEAN member states.   This work can be extended, supplemented or redirected to other negotiations, such as the potential Australia-EU FTA or Trans-Pacific Partnership countries, as prioritised by the department.


Third round of Rural R&D for Profit Programme

The third round of the Rural R&D for Profit Programme is yet to be announced, however the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has indicated that it expects an announcement this year. Further details can be found on the Departments website


If you have a project concept you would like to put up for the R&D for Profit Programme you can send these to the FRDC.   Within this you must have a sector, jurisdiction or subprogram from which funding will be sourced through the FRDC and you must talk to this group first to seek their in principle agreement (contact details for these groups are on the FRDC website /research/advisory_groups/Pages/default.aspx), unless there is not a requirement for FRDC funding. Other information that must be included are all partners who are to be involved including researcher providers. 


CRC-P bid successful – Future Oysters

The Federal government has announced the funding of the Future Oysters CRC Project.  CRC Projects are a new class of ‘mini’ CRC to run for a maximum of three years and with a maximum government contribution of $1m per annum.   The application for the CRC-P was developed by Oysters Australia and Australian Seafood Industries Pty Ltd in early May 2016.  The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) has entered into a CRC project funding agreement with Australian Seafood Industries Pty Ltd., and Participants agreements are currently being finalised. Future Oysters CRC-P has a total cash budget of $5,011,040. 


The Future Oysters CRC-P will focus on three R&D programs:

  1. Better Oysters Advance genetic selection and progeny testing to accelerate availability of disease resistant Pacific and Sydney rock oysters Outcomes - High POMS resistant Pacific oysters - Improved disease resistant Sydney Rock oysters

  2. Healthy Oysters - Employ novel methods to assess oyster health and manage diseases – Identify environmental factors implicated in oyster diseases Outcomes - Better farm management strategies - Improved profitability

  3. More Oysters - Assess commercial potential of alternative species to diversify production - Develop and assess new technologies to increase production and profitability Outcomes – More resilient farming systems - Increased production to supply new domestic and global markets.


The FRDC total contribution is $417,040 (through the IPA and additional investment).   FRDC will apply its project application and project management systems to contract individual projects under the CRC.   Applications under each of these programs are being developed by the participants and these are to be finalised soon.


Other participants include:

Oysters Australia (FRDC IPA)

Flinders University

Australian Seafood Industries (ASI) Pty Ltd.

University of Newcastle

Select Oyster Company

University of Adelaide

The Yield Technology Solutions


Department of Primary Industries and Regions

University of the Sunshine Coast

University of Tasmania

University of Technology Sydney

Department of Industry Skills and Regional Development

Macquarie University


New CRC bids being developed

There are two CRC bids which the FRDC has an interest in which have progressed to the final round of the Federal Governments CRC program. Details of these can be found at the following two links:


FRDC to implement new IP and Commercialisation Arrangements

At its August meeting the FRDC board discussed the report it had commissioned by Dr Len Stephens titled Intellectual property and commercialisation review.   As a result it has agreed to contract TechMAC to help the FRDC review the relevant business processes and to assess commercialisation opportunities.   The board is flagging that the FRDC is likely to be taking a more proactive and effective approach to intellectual property matters.


Marketing update

A key activity for the FRDC is 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.   The FRDC met with Assistant Minister, Senator Ruston and discussed this activity.   Senator Ruston was very supportive and saw this as a priority action that needed resolution.   FRDC will continue to assist where it can to make these changes.


The FRDC has continued to work on developing a Seafood Marketing Strategy.   A key part of this activity has been to undertake consumer research to explore the reasons why people do not eat seafood.   The study with over 2,000 consumers provided some interesting insights which will be released in the coming months.


The key focus for the FRDC remains on using its knowledge base and use this, working on the areas around consumer education and developing material that responds to the areas identified in the market research.


Fish E-newsletter for foodservice and retailers commences

The new Fish E-newsletter has started.   The newsletter will be a regular vehicle to share the knowledge with the foodservice sector and retailers to help dispel the myths of what is the most misunderstood sector in the food industry.


Award-winning journalist Anthony Huckstep is editing the newsletter. Anthony is a national restaurant critic and columnist writing for delicious, The Australian, QANTAS magazine, GQ Australia and spent 13 years editing the foodService magazine (Australian Business Magazine of the Year 2011).


Fish Names update

The Fish Names Committee met at the FRDC over Thursday 25 and Friday 26 August.   At this meeting, the Committee approved the following fish names for inclusion in the Australian Fish Names list.

  • Antarctic Toothfish for Dissostichus mawsoni

  • Crystal Crab for Chaceon albus

  • Eastern Crystal Crab for Chaceon bicolor

  • Ornate Rock Lobster for Panulirus ornatus

  • Scalloped Rock Lobster for Panulirus homarus

  • Fourspine Rock Lobster for Panulirus penicillatus

  • Painted Rock Lobster for Panulirus versicolor

  • Longleg Rock Lobster for Panulirus longipes

  • Mud Rock Lobster for Panulirus polyphagus


White Banana Prawn (Penaeus merguiensis) was not approved with a view to re-advertising this as just Banana Prawn.


FRDC is currently developing a new Fish Names ( ) web site.


Key events 2016

4 – 7 Sept

Australian Society For Fish Biology & Oceania Chondrichthyan Society Joint 2016 conference, Hobart, Tasmania.

Last week Sept to 2nd week of Oct

Jurisdictional FRDC Research Advisory Committee (RAC) Meetings (no. 3)

  • 27 Sept: Queensland RAC meeting


  • 29 Sept: Victorian RAC meeting


  • TBC Commonwealth RAC meeting


  • 5 Oct: Tasmanian RAC meeting


  • 6 Oct: New South Wales RAC meeting


  • 7 Oct: South Australian RAC meeting


  • 11 Oct: Western Australian RAC meeting


  • 20 Oct: Northern Territory RAC meeting


29 Sept – 2 Oct

Ceduna Oysterfest

1 – 2 Oct

Narooma Oyster Festival

4 – 5 Oct

FRDC Indigenous Fishing Subprogram meeting

By invitation

13 Oct

FRDC Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram meeting

By invitation

26 – 27 Oct

FRDC Research Advisory Committee & Industry Partnership Agreement Annual Planning Workshop, Adelaide, South Australia.

By invitation

28 – 29 Oct

Shellfish Futures

Conference Website


FRDC board meeting dates



22-23 November 2016


21-22 February 2017


27-28 April 2017


14-15 June 2017




Key new projects approved since last update



NOTE: may not yet be contracted

Project ID

Project description





APFA IPA: towards understanding the relationship of the distribution of the PirAB toxin DNA and Penaeus monodon mortality syndrome (PMMS) pathology in farmed prawns in Australia

Australian Prawn Farmers Association

Matt Landos



AQUAVETPLAN: Design standards for experimental and field studies to evaluate diagnostic accuracy of tests for infectious diseases in aquatic animals

CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory

Mark Crane



Select fish system for Shark Fishing in Southern Australia

Southern Shark Industry Alliance

Gary Robinson



Establishing a low risk incremental approach for setting Total Allowable Commercial Catches (TACCs) (changing quotas) in the Western Rock Lobster Fishery, taking into account maximum economic yield and other industry objectives

Western Rock Lobster Council Inc

Peter Rogers



Review and analysis of the risks associated with the sustainable development of the WA Rock Lobster industry

Western Rock Lobster Council Inc

Peter Cooke



Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome - resistant Oyster breeding for a sustainable Pacific Oyster Industry in Australia

Australian Seafood Industries Pty Ltd

Matthew Cunningham



APFA IPA: RNAi treatment of broodstock to reduce disease impacts in farmed prawns

CSIRO Agriculture Flagship (Bris)

Melony Sellars



Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram: Perkinsus olseni in abalone - development of fit-for-purpose tools to support its management

Department of Fisheries Western Australia

Cecile Dang



Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram: Disinfection measures to support biosecurity for infectious spleen and kidney necrosis virus (ISKNV) at aquaculture facilities

University of Sydney

Joy Becker



Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram: Comparative pathogenicity of exotic acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND) and the presumptive bacterial hepatopancreatitis detected in farmed Penaeus monodon in Queensland

CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory

Nicholas J Moody



RAC TAS: Sentinel sensors: revolutionising our understanding and management of the estuarine environment

CSIRO Agriculture Flagship

John McCulloch



RAC TAS: Harmful algal bloom marine based automated biosensing instrument

CSIRO Oceans & Atmospheric Flagship

Pascal Craw



RAC TAS: Where do Calamari spawn in Northern Tasmania and how will this information aid the management of the Calamari fishery in Northern Tasmania?

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Sean Tracey



RAC WA: golden fish: evaluating and optimising the biological, social and economic returns of small-scale fisheries

Murdoch University

James Tweedley




RAC CMWTH - ASBTIA IPA: next-generation Close-kin Mark Recapture: using SNPs to identify half-sibling pairs in Southern Bluefin Tuna and estimate abundance, mortality and selectivity

CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere Flagship

Campbell Davies



Addressing knowledge gaps for studies of the effect of water resource development on the future of the Northern Prawn Fishery

CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere Flagship

Rob Kenyon



Indigenous fishing subprogram: Business opportunities and impediments for Aboriginal community development in supportive fishing industries in the Roper River to Robinson River area of the Northern Territory

Northern Land Council

Lorrae McArthur



RAC TAS: Waste to profit in urchin fisheries: developing business opportunities to ensure fishery sustainability and safeguard reef dependent fisheries from destructive urchin grazing

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

John Keane



RAC SA: Building economics into fisheries management decision making - to utilise a suite of SA case studies

EconSearch Pty Ltd

Julian Morison



Determine the acceptability, scope and form of a proposed standard, and associated certification scheme, for imported seafood

FRC Solutions

Fred Reynolds



Guidelines for the updated Harvest Strategy Policy


Simon Nicol



Social Sciences Economics Research Coordination Program: Sustainable Fishing Families: Developing industry human capital through health, wellbeing, safety and resilience

Deakin University

Tanya King



Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram: Strategic planning, project management and adoption

CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratories

Mark Crane



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

Australian Society for Fish Biology

Chris Fulton



SRL IPA: Southern Rock Lobster Planning and Management for a National Research Development & Extension (RD&E) Program

Southern Rocklobster Ltd

Ross Hodge



Create a matrix of skills and capability building priorities across FRDC partners and advisory groups

AgriFood Skills Australia

Ross Ord



ACPF IPA: Australian wild caught prawn sector RD&E management and communication

Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries Ltd

Rachel King



Seafood with ET

Escape Productions Group

Andrew Ettinghausen


Projects TBC

Future Oysters CRC-P program

CRC-P Partners




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