Indigenous Reference Group

IRG logo 

Indigenous Reference Group (IRG)

On occasion, a planned research and development outcome could be more successful if a number of related projects were managed by employing higher levels of coordination, integration and communication. The FRDC either on its own initiative or at the request of a stakeholder group, can establish a managed subprogram.


Subprogram management

The IRG  is managed by an expertise- based steering and scientific committee, appointed by the FRDC. In addition to its leadership and strategic roles, the committee advises the FRDC on allocation of subprogram funds to projects consistent with stakeholder priorities and relevant R&D plans; actively oversees progress of projects under its direct management; and provides technical advice to the FRDC on issues, applications and projects beyond those under its management.


Research Priorities

Research, Development and Extension Plan

The IRG does not have an RD&E Plan. The priorities that guide the activities of the IRG are:




Primacy for Indigenous People

Indigenous people have certain recognised rights associated with and based on the prior and continuing occupation of country and water and activities (e.g. fishing, gathering) associated with the use and management of these

Acknowledgement of Indigenous Cultural Practices

Indigenous people have the right to maintain and develop cultural practices to address spiritual, cultural, social and economic needs associated with aquatic resources and landscapes

Self-determination of indigenous rights to use and manage cultural assets and resources

Indigenous people have the right to determine courses of action in relation to use and management of aquatic biological resource

Economic development opportunities arising from indigenous peoples’ cultural assets and associated rights

Indigenous people have the right to engage in economic activity based on the use of traditional aquatic biological resources and/or the right to share in the benefits derived from the exploitation of aquatic biological resources

Capacity building opportunities for indigenous people are enhanced

Indigenous people have the right to access capacity building activities to further their aspirations in the use and management of aquatic biological resources



Call for Applications

The FRDC invests through a flexible approach. Part of this approach allows the Research Advisory Committees (RACs), Industry Partnership Agreements (IPAs) and Subprograms to call for applications based on their priorities up to three times per year in November, April and August – see whether this IPA has put forward any priorities in the current call for applications.



  • Chris Calogeras
  • Bryan Denny
  • Chels Marshall
  • Francis Parriman
  • Matt Osborne
  • Michael Gilby
  • Shane Holland
  • Stan Lui
  • Stephan Schnierer
  • Terry Yumbulul
  • Traceylee Forester


IRG Contact:
Chris Calogeras, Subprogram Leader – (E


FRDC Management Contacts:

Josh Fielding – FRDC Portfolio Manager (M 0417 324 182; E


Meeting dates: See – Events 


History of the IRG

In 2012 the FRDC established an Indigenous Reference Group to assist in working towards a Fisheries Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) plan for indigenous Australians.

Information on the management of the Reference Group can be found on the FRDC Subprograms Advisory Group Page.

To assist with this process two workshops have been held that Torres Strait Island and Aboriginal people  with  an interest in fishing and seafood  attended the forum to help identify key RD&E needs for the indigenous sector.

Historic Key documents relating to the Indigenous Reference Group and outcomes from the first two workshops are below:


Related projects are listed below

Project Number
Integrating indigenous fishing: extending adoption pathways to policy and management
Developing a traditional fishing harvest strategy to support the sustainable harvest of Quampie (Pinctada albina) in Moreton Bay
Identifying and synthesizing key messages from projects funded by the FRDC Indigenous Reference Group
Sharing and preserving knowledge through story
Improving data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander marine resource use to inform decision-making
Where should I farm my oysters? Does natural Cadmium distribution restrict oyster farm site selection in the Northern Territory?
Indigenous Fishing Subprogram: Ensuring that fishing and seafood industry focused RD&E delivers improved economic, environmental and social benefits to Australia’s Indigenous people – IRG and Indigenous Subprogram Support
Indigenous Capacity Building Program
Indigenous fishing subprogram: Business Nous - Indigenous business development opportunities and impediments in the fishing and seafood industry
Indigenous business development opportunities and impediments in the fishing and seafood industry - 'Wave to plate' establishing a market for Tasmanian cultural fisheries