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Research to support Indigenous commercial fishers


Zuleika Henderson
8 June 2011
Southern Cross University researchers are calling on Aboriginal commercial fishers to take part in a new study aimed at better understanding the affect of fisheries management in New South Wales on Indigenous participation in the state’s commercial fishing sector.

The 12-month study, which is being carried out in consultation with the NSW State Aboriginal Land Council, NSW Industry and Investment (Fisheries) and NSW Office of Aboriginal Affairs, will examine how fisheries management is affecting the ability of Aboriginal fishers to remain in the sector. In particular, the researchers aim to determine the adjustment process being undertaken for the NSW commercial sector as a result of the ‘Pyrmont Pact’ - a restructure of the commercial fishing industry announced by the former Minister for Primary Industries in 2009.

Southern Cross University’s Associate Professor Stephan Schnierer is the principal researcher for the study, which is being funded by a grant from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation in Canberra, on behalf of the Australian Government.

“The research is important because it will determine how we can maintain an Indigenous presence in the NSW commercial fishing sector in the face of ongoing changes to fisheries management approaches,” said Professor Schnierer.

“We need to make sure that commercial fishing opportunities are available to Aboriginal people - particularly when one considers that many of the species taken commercially today have been harvested by their people for thousands of years.

“The study will seek to determine the number of Aboriginal commercial fishers operating in NSW waters, the factors impacting ongoing Aboriginal participation in the commercial fishing sector and develop strategies to help remove any negatively impacting factors.

“This is a really good opportunity for Aboriginal commercial fishers to be involved and have their voices heard.”

If you are an Aboriginal commercial fisher past or present that operated in NSW waters please contact Hayley on 0409 023197 or Stephan on 0457 824629.

Photo: Indigenous fisherman at work on the Tweed River (high resolution image available on request).