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Indigenous fisheries researcher joins national leadership program


Sharlene King
23 March 2015
An Indigenous fisheries researcher at Southern Cross University has been accepted into the 2015 National Seafood Industry Leadership Program which starts tomorrow (Tuesday March 24) on the Gold Coast.

Hayley Egan, who is from the School of Environment, Science and Engineering and is investigating ways to better improve Indigenous access to fisheries resources at a New South Wales and national level, said the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program (NSILP) was an exciting opportunity.

“I applied for the NSILP to gain greater knowledge of the whole seafood industry rather than just the sectors relevant to my research. It is an invaluable opportunity to network and improve my communication skills,” said the 30-year-old.

“For me, leadership in the seafood industry is about empowering people, with respect and open knowledge transfers, to instil a renewed sense of responsibility for fisheries resources. I'm a firm believer in active community involvement and voice when it comes to managing fisheries, obviously with a good mix of science.”

NSILP is the only national seafood industry leadership program and has been informed and developed in consultation with feedback from the industry. The six-month program is funded by the Australian Government through the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and is managed and facilitated by Rural Training Initiatives.

Jill Briggs, NSILP Program Manager, Rural Training Initiatives, said the program focused on developing practical skills that participants could apply at a personal, business and national organisation industry level.

“This is one of the great concepts of industry ‘future proofing’. What better way to guarantee a strong industry into the future than investing in new leaders. Rural Training Initiatives provides skills sessions and practical activities that enhance participant’s knowledge and confidence to lead the industry into the future.”

Ms Brigg said NSILP participants would have opportunity to network and connect with industry decision-makers throughout the program.

“It was a very competitive selection process this year and congratulations to all the participants from across the industry and value chain. The opportunity to connect with industry leaders and network throughout the program and the many industry activities ensures that the participants will meet many of the key stakeholders of the industry. Thanks also go to the industry support we receive for the program.”

Hayley said improving Indigenous access fisheries resources was important culturally and economically.

“I’m working on two projects at Southern Cross University. My first project is focused on gaining baseline data on cultural catch throughout NSW and governance of a cultural fishery at the community level, in this case Tweed Heads. My second project is a national project focused on highlighting the gaps in legislation, regulations, strategies and RD&E (research, development and extension) in relation to cultural access to resources by Aboriginal people and filling these gaps.

“This leadership program will not only increase my skills and knowledge base but also allow me to increase the capacity of those around me. A key aspect of the NSILP is to create a whole industry vision and this is a great platform to inform that vision to promote an environmentally and socially sustainable industry with clear acknowledgement of a cultural fishery in the future,” said Hayley.

The 2015 National Seafood Industry Leadership Program concludes in September.

Photo: Hayley Egan.