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Accessing new markets


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FRDC Board and Representative Organisation planning meeting

The FRDC Board held its annual planning workshop with its representative organisations (National Seafood Industry Alliance, Recfish Australia, National Aquaculture Council and Commonwealth Fisheries Association in August– also present was the Indigenous Reference Group).  The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources also provided an update on the Commonwealth priorities.  These priorities were discussed at the August FRDC board meeting in the context of the FRDC’s RD&E Plan 2015-2020.  These priorities are as follows:

  • Fishing and aquaculture biosecurity – with a greater focus on prevention and improving people capacity
  • Animal welfare – with a greater focus on determining the barriers to sector adoption of codes of practise and identifying gaps in codes.  The focus is on ensuring best possible fish welfare.
  • Digital data – working with fishing and aquaculture sectors, including commercial, recreational and Indigenous; and government to improve the accessibility and sharing of digital data.

These priorities were further discussed at the Annual stakeholder Planning workshop outlined below. The FRDC will be working with stakeholders, the jurisdictional research advisory committees (RAC), industry partnership agreements (IPA), subprograms and other stakeholders to progress these priority areas.

FRDC Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop

The FRDC’s Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop was held August 30th and 31st in Adelaide, and provided a forum for representatives of each RAC, IPA, Subprogram and Representative Organisation to discuss research priorities. A major objective 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.  Feedback from the previous workshop held in 2016 outlined that the attendees wished to spend more time working with each other to discuss priority areas for collaboration which was achieved.

The workshop resulted in priority areas being established around data, food safety, community engagement, people and capacity building, aquatic animal welfare/well-being, understanding labour needs and barriers, and biosecurity. FRDC management will be further developing these priority areas with the interested RACs, IPAs, Subprogram and Representative Organisations. These groups will also be discussing their jurisdictional and sectoral priorities and any collaborative opportunities at their October meetings.

More information including workshop outcomes and presentations will be provided via the FRDC webpage.

Status of Australia Fish Stocks (SAFS) reports update

The SAFS Advisory Group met on the 11 and 12 July 2017 in Melbourne to progress SAFS 2018. Key developments are outlined below.

The new SAFS species list has been agreed to, with 37 new species to be incorporated into SAFS 2018, bringing the total number of species to 120 (up from the current 83 species across 294 stocks).

Australian Herring (Arripis georgianus)

Mahi Mahi (Coryphaena spp.)

Baldchin Groper (Choerodon rubescens)

Mangrove Jack (Lutjanus argentimaculatus)

Bastard Trumpeter (Latridopsis forsteri)

Mirror Dory (Zenopsis nebulosus)

Bight Redfish (Centroberyx gerrardi)

Ocean Jacket (Nelusetta ayraudi)

Black Bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri)

Ocean Perch (Helicolenus barathri & H. percoides)

Blue Threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum)

Pearl Perch (Glaucosoma scapulare)

Blue Warehou (Seriolella brama)

Periwinkle (Trochidae, Margaritidae, Solariellidae, & Tegulidae spp)

Bluespotted Emperor (Lethrinus spp.)

Rankin Cod (Epinephelus multinotatus)

Bluespotted Flathead (Platycephalus caeruleopunctatus)

Redfish (Centroberyx affinis)

Bluethroat Wrasse (Notolabrus tetricus)

Ribaldo (Mora moro)

Brownlip Abalone (Haliotis rubra conicopora)

Roe's Abalone (Haliotis roei)

Eastern Sea Garfish (Hyporhamphus australis)

Royal Red Prawn (Haliporoides sibogae)

Elephantfish (Callorhinchus milii)

SAWSHARKS (Pristiophorus spp.)

Estuary Cobbler (Cnidoglanis macrocephalus)

School Mackerel (Scomberomorus queenslandicus)

Grey Morwong (Nemadactylus douglasii)

Silver Warehou (Seriolella punctate)

Hapuku (Polyprion oxygeneios)

Spangled Emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus)

Jackass Morwong (Nemadactylus macropterus)

White Teatfish (Sea Cucumber) (Holothuria fuscogilva)

John Dory (Zeus faber)

Yellowfin Whiting (Sillago schomburgkii)

Yellowtail Scad (Trachurus novaezelandiae)



The revised SAFS Classification Framework has been endorsed by the SAFS Advisory Group. The stock status classification categories are Sustainable, Depleting, Recovering, Depleted, Undefined and Negligible. The SAFS Advisory Group has agreed that workshops will be held in each jurisdiction to train local staff in suitable data-poor stock assessment methods to reduce the number of undefined species in the SAFS reports. The CSIRO will lead this undertaking. These workshops will commence March 2018. The next SAFS Advisory Group meeting will be in October.

The 2016 SAFS reports can be viewed at

Seafood Sustainability and the Community (National Priority 1 Subprogram)

Sevaly Sen (Subprogram Leader) and Mark Boulter are assisting the FRDC in managing the work plan for Priority 1 –  Ensuring that Australian fishing and aquaculture products are sustainable and acknowledged to be so.  FRDC has commenced a trial of an online business to business tool “Whichfish” to assist businesses rapidly screen wild caught species for their relative environmental risks (by fishery and management jurisdiction) based on publicly available information. Contracted by FRDC, MRAG Asia Pacific completed 20 independent assessments in July 2017. Reports are currently undergoing peer review and review by fisheries management agencies prior to being uploaded onto a new FRDC website ( To test the design and output of the reports, a seafood supply chain workshop was held in early August 2017 to elicit feedback on the beta website and listen and incorporate wherever possible the needs of users. 

The Fisheries Management Standards project is progressing well and it is anticipated that a set of best practice fisheries management guidelines will be complete by the end of the year.  Phase 2 of the Healthcheck project will be identifying social, economic and other indicators (such as Greenhouse Gas emissions) for Australian fisheries which will be made available to a range of users. These outputs could then also be considered for incorporation into Whichfish.

Further work under consideration for National Priority 1 includes the development of bycatch performance metrics, innovations in capture technologies, assessment methods to determine responsible labour practices along the supply chain and research on key influencers and networks which affect the community’s understanding of the sustainability of Australian seafood.  

National Carp Control Plan (NCCP)

The National Carp Control Plan (NCCP) held its first Principal Investigator Workshop in July. The workshop provided an opportunity for researchers working on NCCP projects to discuss project interdependencies, ensuring maximum efficiency. The collaborative relationships established at the workshop have already improved data-collection efficiency on NCCP projects, with researchers from three projects (community and stakeholder attitude surveys, economic cost-benefit analysis, and the social components of the NCCP’s risk assessment) working together to ensure that a single set of surveys satisfies the data needs of all three projects. Researchers working on NCCP projects commented that the workshop had been very useful, and have asked that quarterly Principal Investigator workshops be scheduled to consolidate progress and obtain constructive feedback.


Following the Principal Investigator Workshop, all research projects are reporting good early progress towards completion. Notably, interviews for community and stakeholder attitude surveys are underway, and the carp biomass project estimation group have identified appropriate habitat types, apportioned these among collaborating state agencies, and are developing sampling designs.


Preparations for the NCCP’s ‘travelling roadshow’ of community consultation events is also in full swing. At least one community consultation event will be held in every Natural Resource Management (NRM) zone throughout the Australian distribution of carp (approximately 30 events in total). The NCCP is partnering with state fisheries agencies and other NRM bodies to deliver this series of events. In addition to the ‘travelling roadshow’, the NCCP’s National Coordinator, Matt Barwick, has been meeting with stakeholders in South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales


Two new NCCP advisory groups, the Communications Working Group and Operations Working Groups (CWG and OWG respectively) have been established, endorsed their Terms of Reference, developed meeting schedules, and held their first meetings. The CWG will ensure that the NCCP is communicating effectively with stakeholders, while the OWG will develop detailed strategies for potential carp virus release and subsequent clean-up, contribute to development of an integrated approach to carp control, and build strong jurisdictional relationships, thereby ensuring that planning accounts for local conditions.


The NCCP is also attracting considerable media coverage. Since June 30, a total of 134 media articles have been published on the program. Jurisdictional breakdown of these articles is as follows:

National: 9, Victoria: 48, NSW: 41, SA: 19, QLD: 11, ACT: 3, NT: 1, Metro: 2

In summary, the NCCP continues to meet its milestones across all program areas. The NCCP team will continue to ensure timely and effective delivery across all program areas.


FRDC partners with X-Lab

The FRDC has partnered with a leader in start-up science, X-Lab, and the Cotton RDC to run microhack workshops. Two workshops are scheduled for – November 2-3 and February 2018. So it is really important if you are interested in participating that you apply –

Attendance to the microhack workshop will be free of charge for the successful applicants – with the FRDC reimbursing reasonable travel and accommodation cost to participate in this exciting opportunity.

This 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 will operate as an opportunity to spark creative opportunities by facilitating synergies between people with different backgrounds. True innovation is challenging, but providing the right environment can prove a fertile ground.

Workshops will be hosted in Sydney throughout the year. Each workshop will focus on specific themes. Industry innovators, primary producers or researchers can bring along a product or business idea and use tried and tested methodologies to bring it to life. After two days the next steps should be clearly laid out.

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.


Benefit Cost Analysis of FRDC projects completed 2015/16

Monitoring and evaluation is a key component of research investment. As part of FRDC’s 2015-2020 RD&E plan, FRDC has mechanisms in place to monitor and evaluate the impact of research across the life of the plan. Evaluations for the first year of the plan, 2015-16 were recently completed. Agtrans Research, on behalf of FRDC, completed a benefit-cost analysis of a random sample of 20 projects that concluded in 2015/16. The findings of theses assessment are soon to be published in the 2016-17 Annual Report as well on our website.

FRDC application evaluation process

FRDC Management have recently made some changes to the way that applications are internally assessed. The assessment criteria and a brief description of the information to be populated is provided below. This information may also assist the IPAs, RACs, Subprograms and applicants understand the key elements of information that are used to assess submitted applications.

MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATION - Recommendation based on advice received to either approve or reject the applications with rational or conditions.


GVP - Gross Value of Production of the relevant commercial activity if available.


RELEVANCE TO GOVERNMENT PRIORITIES - Relevance to the Australia's Science and Research Priorities or Australia’s Rural Research, Development and Extension Priorities (from the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and Rural R&D for Profit Programme


RELEVANCE TO FRDC RD&E PLAN - Relevance to the FRDC’s 5 year strategic RD&E Plan


PRIORITY - Is the application addressing a nominated stakeholder priority such as a nominated priority in a call for applications from a Research Advisory Committee or Industry Partnership Agreement.


SOURCE OF FUNDS - Outlines the source of the funds being requested such as from a Research Advisory Committee or Industry Partnership Agreement.


IN KIND CONTRIBUTIONS - Outlines any inkind contributions nominated in the application from the applicant or other parties.


STAKEHOLDER SUPPORT - Describes any documented support for an application from beneficiaries or end users or whether the application is addressing a nominated stakeholder priority.


LIKELIHOOD OF ADOPTION - Provides a description of the likelihood of adoption of the research outputs based on evidence within the application or supporting documentation or by FRDC management discussing the application outputs with potential end users.


VALUE FOR MONEY - Do the application costs accurately/appropriately reflect the activities to be undertaken as described in the application.


LEVEL OF IMPACT IF SUCCESSFUL - A description of such things as whether the project would contribute to a planned strategic RD&E outcome or whether there is evidence of a level of impact such as added value of the end product, increased market opportunity, reduced costs, WHS improvement, environmental improvement, social and cultural benefits etc.


CONSEQUENCES OF NOT FUNDING - Provides advice on any risks associated with not funding this RD&E such as an opportunity foregone, political risk, stakeholder dissatisfaction etc.


DATA MANAGEMENT - If relevant, is there a plan to address access to the data generated in the project. What type of data is being generated and where will it be housed.


COMMERCIALISATION - Is there a commercial opportunity based on the outputs of the proposed RD&E. If so, has a commercialisation plan been developed or is it budgeted for.


GENERAL – This is information generated by FRDC management related to the development of the application as well as an internal FRDC review, additional advice on budget, relationship to other activities and other information received.


COMMUNICATIONS ACTIONS - How does the application describe the activities that will occur to realise outcomes from the proposed research outputs.


RISK ASSESSMENT - This relates to any risk associated with the proposed research and considers such things as reputational including generating negative publicity, interactions with threatened, endangered or protected species, financial risks related to potential external costs not yet factored into the application and the likelihood of the RD&E achieving its objectives related to the feasibility of the activity and centres around whether the proposed methods are sufficient to achieve the stated objectives.


OTHER EXPERT REVIEW - To assist in the evaluation of an application the FRDC may also send an application for external review to assist in assessing the attractiveness and feasibility of an application including specific advice related to the criteria outlined above.

Digital Data

FRDC organised a workshop of key data stakeholders (by invitation) to progress the conversation of what the opportunities for a national fisheries digital data framework are and what such a framework could look like. Stakeholders attended the workshop based on their relevance to the fisheries data landscape and involvement along key parts of the data chain.  A report detailing the outcomes of this workshop is to been published on the FRDC website upon completion of input by attendees. Key recommendations from the workshop are as follows:

  1. Australian Fisheries Management Forum (AFMF) with other key stakeholders fleshes out its “one-liner” on data harmonisation into a statement of intent
  2. Consultation with commercial, recreational and Indigenous fishers to ensure that the digital data framework is designed with the end-user in mind.
  3. An audit is undertaken of the data capture, cleansing/checking and storage process used by each jurisdiction so that this is codified, then a set of best practice and consistent set of Standard Operating Procedures is implemented
  4. Design for a digital data system that collects each data type only once for a variety of uses.   System parameters may include degree of integration, open source, accessibility and independent verification.
  5. FRDC funds case studies that utilise the agreed data principles and are consistent with the “massive” vision – to demonstrate how different aspects of the digital data framework can be refined and implemented



Key events 2017



More information

23 to 25 Sept

Trans-Tasman Rock Lobster Congress

link no longer available

27 to 29 Sept

Seafood Directions Australia



15 Oct

National Gone Fishing Day

16 to 20 Oct

Aquaculture Europe 2017

25 to 26 Nov (tentative)

Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation National Recreational Fishing Conference, Darwin

link no longer available


Research Advisory Committee meetings

More information

27 Sept

NSWRAC (by invitation)

See FRDC website

9 Oct

QLDRAC (by invitation)

11 Oct

NTRAC (by invitation)

13 Oct

SARAC (by invitation)

17 Oct

WARAC (by invitation)

19 Oct

COMRAC (by invitation)

20 Oct

TASRAC (by invitation)

25 Oct

VICRAC (by invitation)


FRDC board meeting dates

20 to 21 Nov 2017

FRDC Board Meeting, Canberra

02 6285 0400

27 to 28 Feb 2018

FRDC Board Meeting, Melbourne

02 6285 0400

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