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Accessing new markets

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New Commonwealth Assistant Minister for Fishing and Aquaculture – Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck

New Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed Senator Richard Colbeck to the Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio to assist Minister Littleproud.  Senator Colbeck will take responsibility for fishing and aquaculture.  Senator Anne Ruston is now the Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific in the Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism and Investment Portfolio.  Senator Colbeck has a very good knowledge of fishing and aquaculture from his previous time as the assistant minister.  It is expected [to be confirmed] that Senator Colbeck will be responsible for the same key areas Senator Ruston was, namely:

  • The revised Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines

  • The revised Commonwealth Bycatch Policy and Guidelines

  • Quantifying the recreational catch of Southern Bluefin Tuna – IMAS has won the tender to undertake the survey

  • Developing a Commonwealth Resource Sharing Policy

  • Establishing a Fishing and Aquaculture Ministerial Advisory Council

FRDC Internal Restructure of Portfolio Management


Some stakeholders will be aware of recent changes to the FRDC management of the various Advisory Groups – Research Advisory Committees, Industry Partnership Agreements & Subprograms. This change has been brought about by a review of the FRDC structure. This has resulted in changes to who looks after each RAC or IPA.


These changes can be seen on the FRDC Organisation Chart.


The RAC, IPA and Subprogram webpages have also been updated with the new contact for FRDC staff members. The pages also have new “relevant project listing” at the bottom of each page. This lists all projects related to the relative area.


Annual Operational Plan (AOP)


The FRDC’s 2018-19 Annual Operating Plan has been submitted to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resource and the Assistant Minister. The FRDC AOP sets out the key priorities for the coming year, as well the performance targets. The AOP can be found on the FRDC website at FRDC AOP 2018-19.

Investments in 2018–19 will continue to focus on the three national priorities, subprogram and stakeholder/jurisdictional RD & E plans see: Partners. In addition, the FRDC looks across its portfolio and identifies areas that require adjustment [to maintain a balanced portfolio] or to specifically respond to areas for investment or focus. 

This process starts in August, when the FRDC Board reviews the business environment and strategic direction with input from its representative organisations. The following focus areas have been identified as priorities for FRDC in 2018-19.

The FRDC will explore, through the Fish-X and Fish 2.0 projects new approaches to identify funders, develop and respond to issues or business opportunities. The two projects will deliver alternate paths for industry development, as well increasing the speed of innovation and adoption by stakeholders.   These projects also aim to broaden the FRDC investor base, bringing in new funding partners.

The National Carp Control research program will continue to be delivered to inform the development of the National Carp Control Plan for the Australian Government to consider.

Following changes to the Primary Industry Research and Development Act the FRDC will commence seafood marketing activities, where industry request it – either via voluntary funding or a statutory marketing levy(s).

FRDC financial income and expenditure planning 2017–21.

















Australian Government 0.5% AGVP





Matching of industry contributions










Total revenues from the Australian Government





Contributions revenue from Industry





Projects revenue from other parties





Other revenue





Marketing and promotion




















Programs Expenditure





Total RD&E expenditure





Total Marketing expenditure





Management and accountability











Marketing Legislation Passes


On 16 August 2018 the FRDC got the news it has been waiting on for a long time. FRDC can now undertake marketing activities with voluntary funds - no levies required.


The changes come about as a result of the Primary Industries Research and Development Amendment Bill 2017 being passed by both houses of parliament.


Up to this point any marketing activities the fishing and aquaculture businesses wanted FRDC to run collectively required them to go through the lengthy process of establishing a mandatory marketing levy. This burden is now gone and allows for more flexible and custom programs to be developed.


Industry still has the option (should they want) to establish a full levy, but would be required to meet the twelve levy principles [see: Department]


The change opens the doors for FRDC to partner with and deliver any marketing activities on behalf of Australia"s seafood industry. For example, if the seafood industry want to run a trade event (either here or overseas) to promote Australian seafood. FRDC and industry partners could identify an event of interest (say a trade show), pay a fee and be part of the event. Any and all interested companies could sign up. This is very similar approach used by Wine Australia for international trade shows – each company pays a fee to attend and be part of the show.


What next?


The FRDC is keen to start discussions with any industry partners looking to undertake or be part of marketing activities. It is important to note, that the FRDC can only undertake marketing where industry request and provide funding for the activity. In these cases the FRDC will work with them to develop plans and processes [approvals/sign offs] to undertake requested activities.


Market Data Updates


FRDC has updated the two trade pages for prawn and rock lobster import and export data:


Prawns Import and Export

Rock Lobster Exports


FRDC Performance Review


Under its four year Funding Agreement with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) the FRDC is required to undertake an independent review of its performance prior to renegotiating the next Funding Agreement.   FRDC board agreed to the terms of reference with DAWR in Sep 2017.   Foresthill Consulting (led by Scott Williams) was selected to undertake the review in November 2017, and the Review is well under way.   Foresthill Consulting has undertaken a number of face-to-face interviews, but is also seeking FRDC stakeholder feedback via a website it has set up at   If you would like to provide stakeholder feedback on the FRDC, you can do so anonymously on the website.  

FISH 2.0

The FRDC have sponsored FISH 2.0 Program. The Fish 2.0 competition connects seafood businesses and investors in order to grow the sustainable seafood sector. Fish 2.0 provides businesses with opportunities to gain visibility and find strategic partners. The focus for the Australian Track and the areas the program are looking for are:

  • Aquaculture production and technologies, including new fish feeds and disease control
  • Changing and improving seafood supply chains        
  • New seafood products for consumers
  • Sustainable packaging and logistics, and reducing waste in seafood supply chains
  • Traceability and transparency
  • Wild capture fisheries and technologies supporting sustainability or fisher safety

FRDC also published a story on FISH 2.0 in FISH Magazine 

Fish 2.0 applicants will participate in a workshop and investor event in Melbourne on October 23-24. The workshop is open to all Australia seafood ventures who apply. Fish 2.0 alumni are also welcome to apply to attend. The application is simple and can be completed online at



Status of Australian Fish Stock Reports (SAFS) Update


As of July 2018, the Status of Australian Fish Stock Reports (SAFS) are being used as evidence based science to inform the United Nations Sustainability Goal Number 14 ‘Life Below Water’ (indicator 14.4.1 ‘Proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels’). This broad goal seeks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.


To learn more go to:

Rural R&D for Profit – Round 4

On 10 August 2018 the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources announced that round four of the Rural R&D for Profit Program is open for applications. The Minister’s media release can be found here.

Program documentation, including guidelines and the online application form, can be found at GrantConnect ( Applications close on 5 November 2018.

Applications through the online form must include an ‘organisation ID’ number and all RDCs already have this ID number.

Further information can be found on the Departments website (

FRDC Seafood Industry Safety & Welfare National Strategy

FRDC have taken the lead in developing a nationally integrated effort to improve the safety, health and welfare of Australia’s seafood industry. A key driver was knowledge that commercial fishing safety performance has not improved in last 15 years and is now considered one of the most dangerous occupations (even though this statement has not been statistically evaluated).

There have been significant resources (financial and physical) allocated to workplace health and safety (including mental health, training and systems for data collection) over the last 15 years in the commercial fishing industry. However the majority have been “stand alone" and there has been limited extension for the wider industry to adopt. In addition, there have been limited resources within industry to continue the developmental work required.

The FRDC Seafood Industry Safety & Welfare National Strategy broadly focuses on the integration of previous and new investments made in the area of workplace health and safety and mental health and culture.

Current FRDC investments in the area of workplace health and safety and mental health are:

  • 2016-400: Sustainable Fishing Families: Developing industry human capital through health, wellbeing, safety and resilience
  • 2017-046: “What’s stopping you from keeping yourself and your mates safe?” Identifying barriers to the adoption of safe work practices in the small scale wild catch commercial fishing industry
  • 2017-194: SeSAFE – Delivering Industry Safety through Electronic Learning (see also
  • 2017- 231: National Marine safety and welfare extension resource toolkit and to trial with all fisheries jurisdictions
  • 2018-106: Identifying electronic platforms to increase safety at sea in the Australian commercial fishing fleet
  • FRDC are also contributing to Agrifutures Australia’s (former RIRDC) Primary Industries Health and Safety Program

FRDC and its partners in this strategy are in the process of having all these initiatives overseen by one steering committee to ensure best possible collaboration, avoid duplication, and importantly maximise the focus on the outcome of significant improvements in safety. Of a number of identified priority areas under the Seafood Industry Safety & Welfare National Strategy – FRDC acknowledge that there is a need to develop a communication plan.

Industry Wellbeing and Mental Health

At the end of September, the FRDC’s Human Research Dimensions Research Subprogram will host the “Mental Health, Wellbeing and Safety in the Seafood Sector: Making a difference” workshop. This workshop aims to guide future FRDC investment in RD&E to improve levels of mental health, wellbeing and safe work behaviours and culture across Australian fisheries and aquaculture. The workshop will likely have updates from current relevant FRDC projects, industry organisations and their initiatives/partnerships, perspectives from government agencies and regulators, as well as leaders in related agri-business sectors on equivalent programs and interventions.

Annual Stakeholder Workshop

The FRDC’s Annual Stakeholder Planning Workshop will be held August 29th & 30th in Adelaide, and provided a forum for representatives of each Research Advisory Committees (RACs), Industry Partnership Agreements (IPAs) and Subprograms and external stakeholders to present their research priorities. The primary objective of the Stakeholder Planning Workshop was to establish collaborative opportunities for co-investment in RD&E that will have multi- jurisdictional and, or national benefit.

The workshop will result in priority areas being established.  More information including workshop outcomes and presentations will be provided via the FRDC webpage.

Inshore Fishery Subprogram – update

The newly established (Commercial) Inshore Fishery Subprogram is holding its second meeting in late-September to develop a terms of reference and finalise the Governance Committee. At this meeting, it is expected that a shortlist of activities – initially focusing on improving social license for these commercial operators – will be discussed which could become shared pilot projects.

To date, the Subprogram held an initial meeting in mid-2018, with the Executive Officers from the State & Territory based wild catch industry councils in attendance. It was agreed that the issue of resource allocation and access would not be addressed by the Subprogram – but rather there would be a focus be on taking advantage of sharing existing knowledge and opportunities, developing new opportunities and trial initiatives such as new technology. Meeting participants outlined activities relevant to inshore fisheries – current and in planning – and identified commonality in RD&E priorities.


Key events 2018



More information

2-6 September

8th International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health

12-15 September

International Coalition of Fisheries Association (ICFA) meeting


18-19 September

Australian Barramundi Farmers’ Association AGM and industry workshop


21 September

“Mental Health, Wellbeing and Safety in the Seafood Sector: Making a difference” workshop (invite only)


25 – 28 September

Third Elsevier Aquaculture Conference 2018: International Advances in Aquaculture Research

27 September

National Inshore subprogram workshop (invite only)


28 September

National Symposium On Seafood Marketing

29 September

Tin Can Bay Seafood Festival


National Seafood Month


7-13 October

Mental Health Week

7-11 October

Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2018

10 October

World Mental Health day

15-16 October

Indigenous Reference Group meeting


17 October

Australian Fisheries Managers Forum (invite only)


19 October

Proposed date for the 5th meeting of the Australian Fisheries Ministers (invite only)


19 October

Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community workshop and 20th anniversary dinner (invite only)

18-21 October

7th Global Conference on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries

22-25 October

Fish 2.0 Australian Workshop

7-8 November

National Priority 1 Steering Committee meeting (invite only)


19-21 November

FRDC Board meeting (invite only)


10-14 December

Fish Passage 2018 – International Conference on River Connectivity



FRDC RAC Meeting Dates


Research Advisory Committee meetings

More information

23 October

QLDRAC (by invitation)

See the FRDC website 


11 October

COMRAC (by invitation)

16 October

WARAC (by invitation)

4 October

NSWRAC (by invitation

10 October

NTRAC (by invitation)

19 October

TASRAC (by invitation)

30 October

SARAC (by invitation)

18 October

VICRAC (by invitation)



Key new projects approved since last update in June 2018

Project Number







Can spatial fishery-dependent data be used to determine abalone stock status in a spatially structured fishery?

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Craig Mundy



Understanding the Markets for Western Rock Lobster

Western Rock Lobster Council (WRLC)

Matt Taylor



Digitising the Western Rock Lobster Industry

Western Rock Lobster Council (WRLC)

Matt Taylor



Boosting the emergence of Cobia farming in Australia

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)

Peter Lee



National fisheries and aquaculture industry social and economic contributions study: Phase 1

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Taroona

Emily Ogier



Storm Bay Biogeochemical Modelling & Information System: Supporting sustainable aquaculture expansion in Tasmania

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Karen Wild-Allen



Improving risk management of paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) in the Blacklip Abalone (Haliotis rubra rubra)

South Australian Research and Development Institute

Alison Turnbull



NCCP: Risks, Costs, and Water Industry Response

Water Research Australia Ltd

Tim Kildea



Water treatment to control influent water biosecurity risk on Australian prawn farms. Effectiveness and impacts on production ponds.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)

David Mann



Seafood Directions 2019

Seafood Industry Victoria Inc

Johnathon Davey



Understanding blood flukes infecting Southern Bluefin Tuna

RMIT University Melbourne City Campus

Nathan Bott



Our pledge: Australian seafood industry response to community values and expectations

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA)

Jane Lovell



Program management - Atlantic Salmon aquaculture expansion modelling and monitoring program (Storm Bay)

Rockpool Land and Water Services Pty Ltd

Jason Whitehead



Fish for the future: creating a new investment model for the FRDC

Food Futures Company Pty Ltd

Christine Pitt



WINSC 2018 Annual Conference Sponsorship

Women"s Industry Network Seafood Community

Leonie Noble



Wild catch Barramundi Workshop to explore future options to improve fisheries

Queensland Seafood Marketers Association Inc (QSMA)

Marshall Betzel



WAFIC, Recfishwest, DPIRD and SSPWA attendance at "Engaging Leaders Innovating Across Sectors" (ELIAS)

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council Inc (WAFIC)

Alex Ogg



Improving data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander marine resource use to inform decision-making

Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA)

Daniel Casement



Processing innovation to produce novel, investment ready, WA seafood products

Curtin University

Janet Howieson



e-fish – proof of concept for a comprehensive integrated end-to-end digital solution for fisher reported data


Andrew Powell



Barramundi origins: determining the contribution of stocking to the barramundi catch on Queensland"s east coast

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)

Richard Saunders



Abalone Council Australia Ltd Planning and Management for a National Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Program

Abalone Council Australia Ltd

Dean Lisson



Maximising industry representational capacity and capability through improved skills and knowledge

Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC)

Julian J. Harrington



Non-market values to inform decision-making and reporting in fisheries and aquaculture – an audit and gap analysis

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Louisa Coglan



Development of technical and extension material to support Murray Cod aquaculture industry expansion in Australia

Freshwater Native Fish Association (FNFA)

Noel Penfold



Improving early detection surveillance and emergency disease response to Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) using a hydrodynamic model for dispersion of OsHV-1

Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA)

Shane Roberts



Assessment of national-scale tracking of commercially important fish species

Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS)

Michelle Heupel



Survey of Enterprise-level Biosecurity across the Australian Aquaculture Industry

Instinct and Reason

Rob Mercer



Vaccination for emergency and long-term control of nodavirus in Australian marine aquaculture

University of Queensland (UQ)

Andrew Barnes



A trivalent vaccine for sustainable yellowtail kingfish growout

University of Queensland (UQ)

Andrew Barnes



Identifying electronic platforms to increase safety at sea in the Australian commercial fishing fleet

Diversity Sustainable Development Consultants Pty Ltd

Geoffrey Diver



NCCP: Carp Questionnaire Survey and community mapping tool - Empowering the community to be part of the national solution to Carp through the National Carp Control Program

Centre for Invasive Species Solutions

Peter West




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