Survey shows greater stakeholder engagement

Personal contact and digital communications are part of the mix keeping the FRDC in contact with stakeholders and improving its value to the fisheries and seafood sectors

By Ilaria Catizone

In the past three years the FRDC has made a conscious effort to increase engagement with its end users and the success of these efforts is evident in the results of its latest stakeholder survey.

Intuitive Solutions conducted the survey for the FRDC, with 274 fishers taking part in December 2014 and February 2015.

This included 72 participants who were part of large businesses, defined as operations among the top 300 within Australia by value. The other participants are involved in smaller businesses.

A total of 93 per cent of those surveyed reported direct or indirect contact with the FRDC – a major increase in the level of fisher engagement reported in the previous stakeholder survey in 2011, when it was only 52 per cent (Figure 1). This is a positive result for the FRDC’s outreach efforts, both on a face-to-face and digital level.

Graphic showing increase in stakeholder engagement 2011 to 2015 Figure 1 Increase in stakeholder engagement with the FRDC, 2011 to 2015.

In 2012, the FRDC launched its new online presence with a major overhaul of its website and its entrance into the social media space, which evolved into the creation of extremely successful accounts on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Vimeo. In 2013, the FRDC also launched the Fishfiles website, targeting consumers with the aim of encouraging more seafood consumption.

The value fishers placed on the role of the FRDC also increased. In response to the question ‘How important is it for the Australian fishing industry to have an organisation like FRDC?’, the FRDC’s importance scored 8.5 out of 10. In the 2011 survey this response was 7.8 out of 10.

“The extra effort in consultation and stakeholder engagement helps focus the FRDC’s investment in the areas most relevant to fishing and aquaculture,” says FRDC executive director Patrick Hone.

Bar chart showing stakeholder satisfaction with how the FRDC invests Figure 2 Stakeholder satisfaction with how the FRDC invests. Graphic showing 2015 level of satisfaction with how the FRDC invests by commercial sector Figure 3 2015 level of satisfaction with how the FRDC invests by commercial sector. Graphic showing satisfaction with investment Figure 4 Satisfaction with investment

Overall, the results of the latest survey are positive and show an improved performance on previous years, an upward trend the FRDC intends to continue.

Of those surveyed, 91 per cent were male and the average age was 52.6 years. The majority (89 per cent) were involved in catching or growing seafood and were located all over Australia, with Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales the most represented states. Satisfaction with how the FRDC funds are allocated was rated on average 6 out of 10, an improvement from 5.4 in 2011 (Figures 2, 3 and 4).

The FRDC rated well as a go-to information hub with its website rated fourth out of all possible sources of information about research and ways to improve business (Figure 5).

FISH magazine

FISH magazine was a clear leader in terms of enhancing the FRDC’s visibility to the industry, with 53 per cent of respondents pointing to it when asked where they had heard of the FRDC.

Overall, FISH magazine was a well-received publication, with 53 per cent of interviewees happy with the current mix of content and 24 per cent providing suggestions for additional content, particularly on fisher-related experiences.

Although FISH magazine is available online, on the FRDC website and as an iPad app, only five per cent of readers receive it in its electronic form only. Of the readers receiving hard copies, 78 per cent pass it on to others or keep it for future reference.

Nearly half – 46 per cent – read it thoroughly, and about the same number follow up on stories they have found in the magazine, while 62 per cent of readers reported learning something useful for their business in it.

Graphic showing where people get their information about the fisheries industry Figure 5 2015 Industry information sources.

Stakeholder suggestions for the FRDC

“Development of under-utilised fish species. Trying to deliver more to consumers at the right price and investing in methods of processing.”

“Continuation of a high level of industry contact to achieve fair and equitable outcomes for all sectors.”

“Consultation. State bodies already do it for research and it works well so they should continue that model for the marketing.”

Stakeholder suggestions for FISH magazine

“It could widen its distribution to the general public so they can use it to understand what’s going on. I think the general public would benefit from knowing and understanding more about the level and depth of research going on.”

“More focus on how we can increase production in the fishery to make sure that we’re catching the right size fish in relation to sustainability.”

FRDC Research Code: 2011-51

More information

Peter Horvat, 02 6285 0400,