Recent Projects

Some recent projects are outlined below. For more detail please contact us.

Torres Strait Finfish Fishery Action Plan

DCT TSR by Tony Gordon816Commissioned by the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) and co-funded by FRDC, this Cobalt MRM project developed a Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) based traditional inhabitant seafood industry development action plan.  The objectives of the project are to increase Torres Strait Islander and Indigenous employment in fishing and related industries by advancing successful commercial activities in the finfish fishery, including post-harvest matters such as potential markets and marketing strategies.  The Action Plan must also serve to safeguard environmental sustainability of the fishery as traditional ownership and participation increases.

A copy of the project final report is available here:  Torres Strait Finfish Action Plan – Final Report for TSRA and FRDC Project 2014-240

Improving Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Profitability & the Flow of Benefits to Island Communities

Turte Escape Device

This Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) commissioned project worked closely with Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Licencees and Torres Strait Traditional Owners’ to improve the flow of benefits from the fishery to the traditional inhabitants of Torres Strait communities where the fishery operates.  The project team completed a profitability analysis for the fishery as well as a capability analysis to identify employment and other socio-economic benefits to improve fishery profitability and deliver greater benefits to Torres Strait communities.  The final report is here: AFMA Research Project RR2014-0824 Final Report – TSPF profitability and flow of benefits to Torres Strait Island Communities

Understanding how social acceptability of wild catch fishing influences regulatory decisions (FRDC Project 2012/301)

This collaborative project (Envision EEC, Charles Sturt University and Cobalt MRM) developed a detailed understanding of the level of social acceptability for wild catch fishing in Australia, and how public attitudes, values and beliefs influence regulatory decisions that have major resource access ramifications.  The nature of public and interest groups’ influences over these regulatory processes have been analysed and recommendations made for more effective stakeholder engagement and relationships supporting sustainable wild catch fisheries.  Final Report available here

Development & testing of an Adaptive Management Model to guide the Application and Assessment Process for Australia’s Caring for Country NRM Program.

Sprouting EucalyptThe Australian Government’s Department of the Environment (then DSEWPaC) commissioned this project to enable higher return on investment from government NRM funding, and improve the efficiency of project outcome reporting.  The Project Level Adaptive Management Model (PAMM) we developed evolved from an earlier approach developed by Professor Lefroy (UTas).  PAMM guides proponents (and assessors) through a logical framework tailored to adaptive management in an Australian NRM context.  A project evaluation framework was also provided to guide funding decisions.  Project team comprised Dr N Mazur, A Bodsworth, Prof T Lefroy, and Prof A Curtis.  

A copy of the final report is available here: NRM Project Level Adaptive Management Framework.

Development of a revised management cost recovery (levy) model for the Commonwealth South Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF)

SESSF Trawlers in Eden NSWCommissioned by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), Andy Bodsworth worked closely with AFMA staff, AFMA’s SE MAC and SESSF concession holders to design a new cost recovery model used to collect management levies according to the mix of SESSF quota held, and the type of fishing method authorised on SESSF concessions.

The project required detailed analysis of the cost drivers for each fishery sector, including the management costs for more than 30 individual SESSF quota species, or species groups.  The new model provided a management cost per kg of quota held by an operator, as well as a recoverable cost based on the type of fishing method used to take those quota species.  The revised levy model has enabled a more effective and efficient management cost recovery framework for this complex multi species fishery.   

Commercial Fishing Industry Liaison for the development of Commonwealth Marine Reserves in the North, Temperate East, and Coral Sea Marine Regions

Temperate East Marine Reserve Network - Industry Proposal Andy Bodsworth worked on behalf of the Australian Government and Commercial Fishing Industry to facilitate commercial fishing industry responses to statutory public comment periods for the development of new marine reserves across northern and eastern Australia.  This included setting up fishing industry reference groups, developing and implementing communication and extension processes, facilitating fishing industry workshops, and assisting industry members and peak fishing industry bodies develop submissions in response to the government’s marine reserve proposals.

Improving the Triple Bottom Line for Victoria’s Eel Fishery

Smoked Eel PateCobalt MRM and Strategic Economic Solutions (Dr Kim Houghton) conducted a review of the ESD performance of this fishery, including a qualitative ESD risk assessment, economic analysis, and consideration of future management scenarios.  The review informed the development of recommendations on a preferred future management framework for the fishery to simultaneously enhance profitability, and promote long term environmental sustainability.

A Review of South Australia’s Gulf of St Vincent Prawn Fishery 

Western King Prawn - SARDICommissioned by the fisheries division of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA), this project entailed a review of the existing GSV Prawn Fishery stock assessment and harvest strategy processes, and an economic analysis to improve fishery profitability.  Project Team comprised Andy Bodsworth, Dr Ian Knuckey, and Professor Tom Kompas.

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Australia’s National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (Shark-plan 1)  

Black tip reef sharkA Cobalt MRM project team (Andy Bodsworth, Dr Nicki Mazur, Dr Ian Knuckey, and Mary Lack) evaluated performance of Australia’s 1st NPOA Sharks using a formal NRM program evaluation technique preferred by the Australian Government  (MERI – monitoring, evaluation, reporting, improvement).  The review provided a foundation for development of Australia’s 2nd NPOA Sharks (Shark-plan 2).  The team also developed a program logic and proposed strategies to underpin development of Shark-plan 2.


Ecological risk assessment and management plan for South Australia’s Lake Eyre Basin fisheries

Commissioned by the fisheries division of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA), this project comprised stakeholder consultation, workshops, and primary research to identify and classify the ecological risks of commercial and recreational fishing in the unique Lake Eyre Basin region. The subsequent ESD risk assessment report was then used to guide development of a statutory management plan covering both commercial and recreational fishing to ensure consistency with South Australia’s fisheries and environment legislation and best practice ESD principles. Report currently being finalised.

Shark Futures – a Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Framework to support sustainable shark fisheries

Working with Dr James Scandol (Zetafish Pty Ltd), and to complement a larger national project to revise Australia’s NPOA Sharks, Cobalt led the development of a new RD&E framework to improve ESD outcomes for Australian commercial and recreational fisheries that catch sharks. Ultimately, the new framework should substantially improve sustainability outcomes for shark species caught in Australian fisheries, and the return on investment from public and commercial fishing industry funds invested by the FRDC.

Scoping the feasibility of a national seafood industry labour force exchange program (FRDC project 2008-334)

To canvas options to alleviate ongoing critical seafood industry labour force shortages, FRDC commissioned this project under their tactical research fund. Despite attempts to arrange a series of vessel to vessel (wild catch industry) and land based aquaculture workforce exchange placements, no exchanges were undertaken. The project analysed the current seafood industry labour force environment, including drivers and barriers for improved labour force efficiency, and set a framework for development of a future national seafood industry people exchange program FRDC 2008-334 Final Report Summary.

Review of the draft harvest strategy for the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery

Andy Bodsworth contributed to this Fishwell Consulting project for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The review entailed a quantitative model based evaluation of the likely performance of a proposed harvest strategy for this ecologically important and politically sensitive Australian fishery. A qualitative evaluation of the likely performance of the proposed harvest strategy against AFMA’s legislative requirements and best practice fisheries ESD performance was also provided. View the final report here.

Successful ecosystem based fisheries management in Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF)

Commissioned by WWF – Australia in conjunction with WWF – United States, this project analysed fisheries management performance of the NPF with an emphasis on how this fishery has responded to and largely met the contemporary challenges of best practice ecosystem based fisheries management (EBFM). The report was used by WWF-US to inform their campaign to work with commercial fishers and government to improve the ecological and economic performance of the large and diverse Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl fishery.