Key information for applicants when completing and submitting full proposals

When completing and submitting proposals, applicants should:

  • use the project scopes outlined below as a guide when developing their full proposals to meet the identified need for the project
  • use the ARC application form to prepare their proposals
  • include in their proposals:
    • the projected costs and expected funding source, as well as alternatives; and
    • the proposed contractor’s full legal identity/description, including each corporation’s full description and Australian Company Number or the full names of all partners/joint venturers. A trading name and/or Australian Business Number should also be notified, but only if registered to the parties described.
  • email their completed full proposal to the Research Section at  Research.Secretary [at] afma.gov.au () by  Friday, 30 October 2020.  

AFMA 2021-22 Research Priority Scopes

Summary Table - individual fishery scopes

 
  Essential Projects
Fishery Scope
Southern & Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
  1.  Pink Ling Tier 1 Stock Assessment 2021
Northern Prawn Fishery
  1. Northern Prawn Fishery stock assessment 2021 2022 to 2024-2025
  2. Integrated monitoring program NPF 2021/22 to 2023/24
  3. Summer Recruitment Survey Jan/Feb 2022
  4. Annual analysis of Crew Member Observer (CMO) and Scientific Observer data to confirm it meets criteria for use in monitoring populations of TEP and at-risk species, with sustainability assessment every third year
Southern Bluefin Tuna 
  1. SBT Inter-sessional science 2021/22 to 2023/24
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery
  1. Heard Island and McDonald island Fishery stock assessment moving to CASAL 2
     

 

 

  High, Medium, Low Priority projects
Fishery Scope
Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery
  1.  Determining if recruitment is under-represented in biomass surveys – establishing a sampling method for estimating scallop recruitment. - High
  2. Development of ageing techniques for Bass Strait scallops - Low
  3. Analysis of economic data collected in the fishery – High
Southern & Eastern Scalefish & Shark Fishery
  1. Analysis of Blue Grenadier acoustic survey data collected by industry in 2019 for inclusion in the 2021 Tier 1 stock assessment -Medium
Northern Prawn Fishery
  1. Red Endeavour prawn assessment – further potential improvements - High
  2. Research to support assessment of byproduct species as part of the NPF Harvest Strategy – High
Small Pelagic Fishery
  • Daily Egg Production Method Surveys (DEPM) -Low
  • Annual monitoring, reporting and assessment of marine mammal interactions, including effectiveness of mitigation measures. – Low

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research priority scopes

Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF)

Title Pink Ling Tier 1 Stock Assessment 2021 - Essential Priority
Project Description AFMA provides recommendations to the AFMA Commission regarding annual Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for quota species in the SESSF based on the outcomes of quantitative or qualitative stock assessments – the key outputs are estimates of biomass (or a proxy), and Recommended Biological Catches (RBCs).
Most SESSF quota species are subjected to a three-year Multi-Year Tac (MYTAC), which means stock assessments are completed every three years. Pink Ling was last assessed in 2018. The updated assessment will need to take account of the outcome of the stock structure review that is currently underway.
The Tier 1 stock assessment for pink ling is scheduled for 2021.
 
Desired outcome Updated Ping Ling Tier 1 stock assessment.
Title Analysis of Blue Grenadier acoustic survey data collected by industry in 2019 for inclusion in the 2021 Tier 1 stock assessment - High Priority
Need While the current stock status is estimated to be well above target, continued collection and analysis of survey points is worthwhile. There have not been any new survey points for some years and, as they are influential in the model, additional evidence to support the current healthy stock status would be valuable.
Blue grenadier is due for a Tier 1 assessment in 2021. Any analysis of the data would need be undertaken prior to the next assessment in order for it to be incorporated. The cost needs to be established, which includes consideration of whether the new data will fit in the existing index of abundance or if a new series will be needed. Project proposals will need to take into account the requirement to calibrate vessel acoustic equipment prior to survey.
 
Desired outcomes The analysis of acoustic data has been identified as a low cost and highly feasible research priority.
 

Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery (BSCZSF)

Title Determining if recruitment is under-represented in biomass surveys – establishing a sampling method for estimating scallop recruitment - High Priority
Project Description

The results of the annual biomass survey in the BSCZSF are used to inform decisions regarding total allowable catches (TACs) and closures. Under proposed amendments to the revised BSCZSF, recruitment will be more explicitly accounted for when considering closures and setting TACs.
 
Beds containing juvenile scallops are not typically surveyed, and industry actively avoid fishing in these areas during the fishing season to minimise disturbance and allow them to grow. Even where juvenile scallops are present amongst beds with adult scallops, they generally pass through scallop dredges and aren’t landed. Therefore, the level of recruitment in the fishery is likely underrepresented in surveys and commercial catches.

In recent years, industry has provided ‘exploratory marks’ containing high densities of juvenile scallops. These areas are partially sampled under the biomass survey using smaller mesh, but the number of transects are kept to a minimum to avoid disturbance. Closures, including marine protected areas, are also avoided during the biomass survey.
Developing a method of sampling areas with juvenile scallops will allow ongoing monitoring to better understand recruitment and the dynamics of the fishery.
This research priority is proposed as a scoping study to:

  • determine the extent to which recruitment is underestimated under the annual biomass survey and commercial fishing operations; and

explore options/methods for sampling beds of juvenile scallops in future biomass surveys, or as part of commercial fishing operations.
 

Desired Outcomes Determining if recruitment is under-represented in biomass surveys – establishing a sampling method for estimating scallop recruitment.
Title Analysis of economic data collected in the Bass Strait Scallop Fishery - High Priority
Need In order to meet the economic objectives of the HSP, there is a need to incorporate economic data in the TAC setting process under the BSCZSF Harvest Strategy. 
The absence of detail economic data has made it difficult for ScallopRAG and ScallopMAC to make an informed assessment of the economic implications of different management decisions, such as TAC levels, for the fishery as a whole when providing advice to AFMA and the AFMA Commission.
There is currently a project underway that will collect and analyze economic information to develop a Fisheries Gross Margin (FGM) model, with the intention that this would be incorporated into a revised BSCZSF Harvest Strategy. This project is only funded for the 2020-21 financial year. 
At the end of the current project AFMA are anticipating that additional analysis of economic data will be required before the model can be incorporated into a revised Harvest Strategy, including as part of formal testing of the harvest strategy.
Longer term, AFMA expects the revised Harvest Strategy approach will be adopted and there will be an ongoing requirement to analyze economic data as part of the annual TAC setting process.
Desired Outcomes  Commissioning specific research to support ongoing analysis of economic data to facilitate the review of the BSCZSF Harvest Strategy.
Title Development of ageing techniques for Bass Strait Scallops - Low Priority
Need AFMA sets the annual TAC for Commercial Scallops based on the outcomes of annual biomass surveys. A key output from that survey is the size frequency of scallops at different sites. 
In accordance with the BSCZSF Harvest Strategy the TAC will not be increased above 150 t unless the biomass survey is able to identify an area of scallop bed containing at least 1500 t biomass of high density scallops with a minimum size of 85 mm. The reference size of 85 mm was used to ensure that scallops lived through at least two spawning periods before being subject to fishing, and is based on research from more than 20 years ago. 
The biomass survey does not currently provide any information about the age of those scallops. Growth of scallops is known to vary between areas and is likely dependent on environmental factors – meaning length frequency is not a reliable predictor of age.
The ability to accurately estimate age, modal growth, calculate mortality rates and identify recruitment events would provide valuable insight into the dynamics of the scallop beds, and better inform ScallopRAG in making recommendations to ScallopMAC and the AFMA Commission.
 
Desired outcomes To develop a cost effective, validated, ageing technique/s for Bass Strait scallops that can be used on a routine basis to inform management decisions, in particular the location of spatial closures to protect spawning biomass as required under the Harvest Strategy.

Contacts:

Fiona Hill

Senior manager Demersal and Midwater Fisheries

Telephone: 02 6225 5473

Email: fiona.hill [at] afma.gov.au

Dan Corrie
Manager Demersal and Midwater Fisheries
Telephone: 02 6225 5487
Email:
Dan.Corrie [at] afma.gov.au

AFMA Research Manager
Telephone: 02 6225 5432
Email: 
Research.Secretary [at] afma.gov.au

Northern Prawn Fishery

Title Northern Prawn Fishery stock assessment 2021 2022 to 2024-2025 - 
Essential Priority
Need Various models are used to evaluate the status of component fisheries in terms of sustainability and economic performance, relative to reference points specified in the Northern Prawn Fishery Harvest Strategy, and to provide recommendations on effort and catch levels, in the form of annual Total Allowable Effort (TAE) and corresponding predicted catches or, in the case of the White Banana Prawn fishery, catch rate trigger levels. This is an on-going research need for the NPF.
Objectives This is specific research needed to support the management of the NPF, particularly in setting effort limits. The RAG assessments should be undertaken in the same format as previous years. The project will span three years as part of a multi-year contract.
Title Integrated monitoring program NPF 2021/22 to 2023/24 - Essential Priority
Need The annual monitoring program currently feeds into a bio-economic model which recommends effort in the form of gear Statutory Fishing Right (SFR) value and season length. This information is vital in the co-management of the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) and in enabling AFMA to achieve objectives under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (FMA 1991 (e.g. ensuring sustainability of target species), and the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy (targeting maximum economic yield and avoiding stock depletion to levels posing a risk to stock).
 
Desired outcomes This is specific research needed to support the management of the NPF, particularly in setting effort limits. The project will span three years as part of a multi-year contract.
Title Summer Recruitment Survey Jan/Feb 2022 - Essential Priority
Need The annual monitoring program currently feeds into a bio-economic model which recommends effort in the form of gear SFR value and season length. This information is vital in the co-management of the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) and in enabling AFMA to achieve objectives under the FMA 1991 (e.g. ensuring sustainability of target species), and the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy (targeting maximum economic yield and avoiding stock depletion to levels posing a risk to stock).
Desired outcomes This is specific research needed to support the management of the NPF, particularly in setting effort limits. Similar to the process undertaken in 2020, the NPF Industry Pty Ltd (NPFI) will run a tender process find a suitable provider and notify AFMA of the successful bid. This process is managed through the co-management arrangement between AFMA and NPFI. The project will span three years as part of a multi-year contract.
Title Annual analysis of Crew Member Observer (CMO) and Scientific Observer data to confirm it meets criteria for use in monitoring populations of TEP and at-risk species, with sustainability assessment every third year - Essential Priority
Need AFMA is required to ensure that the exploitation of fisheries resources and the carrying on of any related activities are conducted in a manner consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
Collecting data and monitoring interactions with TEP and high risk species contribute to AFMA’s ability to meet this objective (e.g. identify risks and make decisions to reduce those risks where required).
The CMO Program collects data on top of what is collected through the Scientific Observer Program on TEP and high risk species in the ERA. The additional data contributes to the coverage of observer data for the NPF, which is part of the long term monitoring program for the NPF.
Desired outcomes Every few years the SAFE analysis for the NPF is revised and updated. It is essential to assess if the NPF is interacting with high-risk species (determined through SAFE analysis) and if any management responses are required to reduce the interaction with such species. 
The Crew Member Observer Program (CMO) collects additional information on interactions with Threatened, Endangered and Protected (TEP) species and species identified as high risk through the Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA). The data collected by the CMOs needs to be analysed annually so it can be used in assessments.
Title Red Endeavour prawn assessment – further potential improvements - High Priority
Need In order to achieve objectives under the FMA 1991 (e.g. ensuring sustainability of target species), and the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy (targeting maximum economic yield and avoiding stock depletion below a limit reference point), AFMA is required to make decisions about acceptable levels of fishing effort (e.g. input controls). 
Various models are used to evaluate the status of component fisheries in terms of sustainability and economic performance, relative to reference points specified in the Northern Prawn Fishery Harvest Strategy, and to provide recommendations on effort and catch levels, in the form of annual Total Allowable Effort (TAE) and corresponding predicted catches.
The current assessment model for endeavour prawns is overly conservative and does not take into account historical changes in catchability of the two stocks (Blue and Red endeavour prawns). Optimising the current multi-species bio-economic model to ensure all stocks fluctuate around MEY may cause endeavour prawns to limit the amount of effort targeted toward tiger prawns, reducing the overall profitability of the fishery. This would not align with AFMA’s objective of maximising net economic returns to the Australian community. 
Desired outcomes An improved assessment of endeavour prawns ensures AFMA achieves its legislative objectives and retains certification against increasing stringent international standards and market access etc, both of which ensure the long term economic security of the fishery. In this regard, purchasing this research is cost effective. Research also provides accountability through AFMA meeting the Australian Government’s policy objectives.
Title Research to support assessment of byproduct species as part of the NPF Harvest Strategy
Need The updated Commonwealth Harvest Strategy and Bycatch Strategy Policies were adopted by the Minister in November 2018. In response to the updated policies, AFMA is working with the NORMAC, NPRAG, industry and stakeholders to ensure that the NPF harvest strategy, bycatch strategy, research and monitoring are consistent with the updated guidance. This may involve re-evaluating how some of the NPF byproduct species are currently assessed and what triggers and decision rules are implemented in the harvest Strategy.
In order to achieve the objectives under the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy (the ecologically sustainable and profitable use of Australia’s Commonwealth commercial fisheries resources) AFMA and NPFI face a number of decisions including:
  • What level of exploitation is consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development
  • What level of exploitation will maintain byproduct species at or above a limit reference point
  • How to ensure fishing is conducted in a manner that does not lead to overfishing
Desired outcomes The research should be obtained on an as needs basis. Each individual byproduct stock may have different assessment needs and the type of research needed to meet the requirements of the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy policy will be determined through the application of the risk-cost-catch framework. Some byproduct species may require a higher level assessment than others and the type of research will be tailored based on the fishery’s operational priorities.

Contacts:

Steve Bolton

Senior Manager, Northern Fisheries

Telephone: 02 6225 5475

Email: Steve.Bolton [at] afma.gov.au

Darci Wallis

Manager, Northern Fisheries

Telephone: 02 6225 5475

Email: Darci.Wallis [at] afma.gov.au            

AFMA Research Manager
Telephone: 02 6225 5432
Email: 
Research.Secretary [at] afma.gov.au

Southern Bluefin Tuna

Title SBT Inter-sessional science 2021/22 to 2023/24 - Essential Priority
Need The provision of ongoing scientific advice to the Southern Bluefin Tuna Management Advisory Committee (SBTMAC) and AFMA to support the adequate monitoring, implementation and success of management arrangements in the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery.
Objectives Participate in planning, consultation, ESC and Operating Model and Management Procedure (OMMP) meetings, inter-sessional webinars, review of exceptional circumstances and 2021 CCSBT data exchange, and provide scientific advice to AFMA, ABARES, Industry and the CCSBT. Complete the 2020 full stock assessment using a refined reference set of Operating Models, and data from the 2020 data exchange, including new gene-tagging data and any additional data on unaccounted mortality.
Title Routine otolith archiving, ageing and developing age-length keys for the Australian SBT surface fishery 2021/22 to 2023/24 - Essential Priority
Need The provision of ongoing scientific advice to the Southern Bluefin Tuna Management Advisory Committee (SBTMAC) and AFMA to support the adequate monitoring, implementation and success of management arrangements in the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery. The ageing is a key component of that work.
Objective Age 100 SBT from the Australian surface fishery (2020/21 season). Provide  direct age estimates to the CCSBT via the data exchange process. Construct age-length keys and estimate the age distribution of SBT in the Australian fishery. Prepare working paper on the outcomes of the project to the CCSBT Scientific Committee (SC) meeting in 2021.

 

Contacts:

Matt Daniel

Manager, Southern Bluefin tuna Fishery

Telephone: 02 6225 5338

Email: matt.daniel [at] afma.gov.au

AFMA Research Manager

Telephone: 02 6225 5432

Email: ResearchSecretary [at] afma.gov.au

Sub-Antarctic Fisheries

Title HIMI Fishery Stock Assessment moving to CASAL 2 - Essential Priority
Need The provision of advice on the scope of the research needed to revise the current Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery stock assessment model to the new CASAL 2 version. 
Desired outcomes Ensuring that the best available science is used to assess the stock and that the HIMIF stock assessment model is accepted at CCAMLR.

Contacts:

Trent Timmiss

Senior Manager, Tuna and International Fisheries

Telephone: 02 6225 5432

Email: trent.timmiss [at] afma.gov.au

Brodie MacDonald

Manager, Antarctic Fisheries

Telephone: 02 6225 5368

Email: Brodie.Macdonald [at] afma.gov.au

AFMA Research Manager
Telephone: 02 6225 5432
Email: 
Research.Secretary [at] afma.gov.au

Small Pelagic Fishery

Title Daily Egg Production Method Surveys (DEPM) - Low Priority
Need Priority subject to significant increase in fishing occurring as there is limited effort at the moment. 
Objectives The objective of these surveys is to estimate the spawning biomass of SPF stocks to underpin the determination of Recommended Biological Catches using the agreed SPF Harvest Strategy. Stocks that are of commercial value or those that were surveyed more than five years ago, should be prioritised for surveying.
Title Annual monitoring, reporting and assessment of marine mammal interactions, including effectiveness of mitigation measures - Low Priority
Need When there is fishing effort in the SPF, there is a need to ensure that marine mammal bycatch data are collected and assessed. 
Objectives When there is fishing effort in the SPF, there is a need to ensure that marine mammal bycatch data are collected and assessed. 
  1. Synthesis of existing information on marine mammal interactions in the SPF to examine how operational and environmental factors influence interaction rates.
  2. Development of appropriate reporting protocols for marine mammal interactions, including key operational and environmental factors, for observers and industry to support on-going assessment and reporting of interactions.

These analyses are intended to provide the basis for recommended modifications to fishing practices and the design or improvement of mitigation devices

Contacts:

Sally Weekes

Manager, Small Pelagic and Coral Sea Fisheries

Telephone: 02 6225 5520

Email: Sally.Weekes [at] afma.gov.au

AFMA Research Manager

Telephone: 02 6225 5432

Email: Research.Secretary [at] afma.gov.au