New Qld officer for fisheries, aquaculture R&D

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

Queensland fishers and aquaculturists can now access a state-based officer appointed by Fisheries Research and Development Corporation to strengthen the exchange of information with end users and increase the uptake of research and development (R&D).

Fisheries scientist Steve Eayrs, who is based in Maroochydore, has been appointed to work with Indigenous, commercial and recreational fishers and aquaculturalists as the Queensland representative of FRDC’s new national extension officer network. Steve began his career in the 1980s as a commercial fisher working in prawn trawl fisheries in northern Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Burma, and fishing for Orange Roughy in Tasmania.

FRDC Managing director Dr Patrick Hone says the extension officers are helping to increase FRDC’s engagement with people at the grassroots.

“We have established the network in response to feedback from our stakeholders, who said they wanted more regionally based staff to help accelerate the adoption of R&D outcomes and drive practice change,” he says.

“The broad remit of the extension officers is to work with people and stakeholders to extend R&D outputs that meet user needs, incorporate their input into R&D priorities and bring people together to solve problems,” he says.

“They are looking at solutions for regional issues in ways that can be adapted across the country, and will help all stakeholders tap into previous, current and future research to find workable solutions.”

Steve says he enjoys working collaboratively with fishers and other stakeholders to build momentum and inspire change in the seafood industry, including facilitating uptake of research outcomes.

“As an FRDC Extension Officer, my approach is to work closely with all stakeholders, recognising their issues, concerns, and perspectives, and working towards novel win-win solutions,” he says

Steve has been the principal investigator of the SeSAFE project, funded by FRDC and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and seafood industry bodies and companies since the project began 2017. SeSAFE provides online safety training for skippers and crew working in fishing and aquaculture. Steve is continuing in this role part time.

After working as a commercial fisher, Steve became a fishing technologist at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania and was involved in efforts to reduce bycatch in prawn fisheries in Australia, the Middle East, Africa, and South-East Asia.

Steve then spent 11 years at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine, USA, where he worked on selective fish-trawl designs and shrimp bycatch reduction projects in the Gulf of Maine as well as the Middle East and Central and South America. .

Steve holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Fishing Technology, a Master of Philosophy degree in Fisheries, and a PhD in Natural Resources and Earth Sciences.

Key Facts:

· Queenslanders involved in all aspects of fishing and aquaculture now have a new state-based contact for R&D.

· Fisheries scientist Steve Eayrs is working with people at the grassroots to gather their input on R&D priorities and boost the adoption of research outcomes.

· Steve is based in Maroochydore and has worked as a commercial fisher on prawn trawlers and as a researcher and technologist in Australia and overseas.

/Public Release.