Looking back and looking ahead: Fishing and aquaculture in Australia

Banner of past R&D Plans

The past 27 years of FRDC’s strategic planning and investment in fishing and aquaculture show an emphasis on improving practices and product quality to help both sectors prosper. In more recent years this has continued, and has been joined by an increasing focus on ecological and social sustainability and the social license to operate.

Fundamentally, the capacity of fishing sectors to deliver quality products in a sustainable manner is brought about through knowledge. In fisheries, knowledge — when wisely applied — creates economic, social and environmental benefits by adding value, accessing new markets, creating new products, reducing waste and improving efficiency.

The evolution of FRDC’s strategic plans shows a wider awareness of the many and varied stakeholders with interests in fishing and aquaculture. more recent plans increasingly acknowledge the needs of recreational and Indigenous fishers and the Australian community.

The coming years pose challenges that will test the resilience of all fishing sectors. Climate variability and longer-term change is occurring across the world and will bring a myriad of ecological and biological variation that need altered policies specific to fishing and aquaculture. International uncertainty, with implications for trade — including seafood — present additional difficulties that will also need to be considered.

Yet few challenges are without opportunity. successfully meeting these challenges, and capitalising on opportunities, will mean rethinking how institutions conducting research and their collaborations can generate the knowledge that needs to be used in fishing and aquaculture and then applied to the broader community.

Detailed summaries of the five sectors — commercial wild catch, aquaculture, Indigenous, recreational and post-harvest — that make up fishing and aquaculture are in the companion document Shaping FRDC’s R&D Plan 2020–25. This information on historical performance has been developed to provide background for this R&D Plan.

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