Aquatic Animal Welfare Workshop Review



During the 2017 Fisheries Research & Development Corporation's (FRDC) Lead, Collaborate, Partner Stakeholder Workshop, delegates identified a need to assess the success of the work undertaken by the Aquatic Animal Welfare Working Group (AAWWG) from 2005 – 2013 and to determine what research, development and extension activities were needed to progress this work to achieve greater adoption by industry. The AAWWG constituted representatives from the commercial wild capture fishing, recreational fishing, aquaculture and ornamental/aquarium sectors, and from animal welfare non-government organisations (NGOs). To progress priorities identified at the 2017 stakeholder workshop, the FRDC commissioned a workshop on Aquatic Animal Welfare, held in Adelaide in September 2018. The invited participants were the delegates of the various seafood industry bodies, other seafood industry representatives and members of the previous AAWWG.

What we did

Meaghan Dodd from Intuitive Food Solutions was part of the review team for the Aquatic Animal Welfare workshop held in Adelaide in 2018, providing secretariat and project management support and a co-authored report in review of the workshop.

Pre-workshop survey

Prior to the workshop an introductory survey to assess awareness levels regarding AAW was sent to the delegates, including those potential delegates who were unable to attend the workshop. 

Workshop process and facilitation

An Aquatic Animal Welfare workshop was held in Adelaide in September 2018. The invited participants were representatives of various peak industry bodies across the aquatic sectors. The workshop was chaired by Brett McCallum (former Chair of the AAWWG), with project management and secretariat support provided by Mark Boulter from Safe Sustainable Seafood and Meaghan Dodd. To initiate the workshop, there were two presentations from the independent members of the past AAWWG to outline past activities and outputs and also to discuss aquatic and non-aquatic animal welfare issues currently arising globally and the potential implications for Australia. Industry representatives outlined their sector’s status on aquatic animal welfare issues through a round table process. An analysis session identified and discussed key external/internal threats and opportunities. On day two, the participants brainstormed future needs regarding AAW from their specific perspectives. The participants were split into the following working groups:

  • Aquaculture and Aquarium sectors - whole of life welfare
  • Catching sector - transported live including the post-harvest phases
  • Catching sector - transported dead 

After a feedback session, participants considered the common themes that came out from the three working groups followed by a voting process to establish the overall key priorities.


The recommendations that represent either identified gaps or areas where increased support is required to achieve appropriate aquatic animal welfare outcomes. These recommendations are not specific to FRDC but represent the views of the workshop participants regarding what current inputs are needed from all parties on the topic of AAW generally. The recommendations from the workshop included:

  • Governance – Strategic plant for aquatic animal welfare
  • Communication activities
  • Stocktake of the industry sectors’ current aquatic animal welfare practices
  • Filling aquatic animal welfare data gaps
  • Change management

Final report

The Report provided a summary of the workshop agenda and participant activity as well as advice and guidance to FRDC, peak industry bodies and other stakeholder groups (e.g. e-NGOs), based on the views of the attending delegates. The Report proposes a clear plan of what is now required to enhance aquatic animal welfare in the industry.


What was clear from the industry delegates at the workshop was that they did not think that doing nothing was an option. The peak bodies and FRDC (and other interested parties such as DAWR) need to now determine how best to prioritise and progress the necessary actions. The recommendations in the final report from this workshop form the basis for that prioritisation process, with this report an integral document to facilitate broader discussions with all relevant stakeholder groups. Findings from the Aquatic Animal Welfare Workshop included raising awareness of the guidelines developed by the AAWWG (Aquatic Animal Welfare Working Group) with industry and review their adoption, uptake rates and utility. Read the report

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