The Northern Territory (NT) Barramundi Fishery makes an important social, cultural and economic contribution to the diverse communities of the NT. It is 30 years since the implementation of the NT Barramundi Fishery Management Plan and a review is currently underway which will develop a new management framework and Harvest Strategy.
85% of the NT coastline is adjacent to Aboriginal Land which extends to the low water mark and encompasses key barramundi fishing grounds. Traditional Owners (TOs) have historically raised significant concerns about their ability to participate in commercial fisheries and fisheries management, intrusion by fishermen into sacred sites, the ecological impacts of the Fishery, and food security concerns.
These concerns are key issues which the Barramundi Fishery Management Advisory Committee (BFMAC) must address during the review. The BFMAC require access to the best available information so they can engage with TO perspectives and understand what impact any recommendations may have on TOs and Indigenous communities. However, the logistical and cross-cultural challenges of engaging with TOs and remote communities are significant.
This project is a partnership between Charles Darwin University (CDU), the Fisheries Division of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (NT Fisheries, NTF), and the Northern Land Council (NLC). It will address this need by consulting with TOs on key aspects of the fishery which are subject to the review including consideration of historic concerns and how these may be addressed within a revised management framework and newly developed Harvest Strategy. Engagement with the BFMAC will create an enabling and solutions-focused environment for the implementation of TO driven approaches.
This research will use two-way knowledge exchanges to build the capacity of and understandings between TOs and other stakeholders and provide insight into how Indigenous perspectives and needs can be better incorporated into fishery management reviews. It will develop a methodology for Indigenous engagement which can be applied across other NT fisheries, enabling Indigenous peoples to better inform the development of equitable fisheries management frameworks in the NT.
Jacqueline Gould | Rachel Groom
Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (Commonwealth)