The FRDC project, ‘Wave to Plate’: establishing a market for cultural fisheries in Tasmania, is the first time that an Aboriginal Tasmanian postdoctoral researcher has engaged with marine research in Tasmania
Budget expenditure: $255,195.00
Project Status:
Principal Investigator: Marcus Haward
Organisation: University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Project start/end date: 29 Dec 2016 - 29 Nov 2018


Aboriginal wild catch is aspirational, seasonal and culture-dependent. For these reasons, it does not compete well against large-scale, industrial fishing operations. Addressing the FRDC’s Indigenous Sector strategy to improve understanding and engagement that ‘best support individual and community economic development’ (FRDC 2015), this project aims to develop a niche market of boutique seafoods, together with investigating how the arts and tourism sectors can foster fisheries management for greater Indigenous community benefit.

A Tasmanian Aboriginal engagement framework in fisheries has not yet been developed by government (Lee 2016, in press). This project will create the conditions for extensions development, based upon resetting engagement terms between Indigenous peoples and government, providing a toolkit of self-determining strategies for regional development. Economic models for future development of fisheries can build upon the capacity of Indigenous communities to translate value into benefit in subsequent projects, such as employment opportunities within the network chain of wild catch procurement to presentation.

There is a need to provide best practice guidance that demonstrates Australia’s commitment to international obligations, such as 2007’s UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In Australia, building on the growing jurisprudence that affirms native title rights to land, the High Court in 2013 extended such rights to commercial fishing in the Torres Strait in its Akiba v Commonwealth decision (Butterly 2013). However, judicial recognition of Indigenous fishing or other marine-based rights does not in itself provide specific guidance on how those environmental resources should be managed culturally and economically.


1. Adapt successful terrestrial model to marine environments, investigating specific conditions of Tasmanian Government policy relating to Indigenous peoples.
2. Assess cultural fishery extensions within commercial operations and determine best practice for government and industry partners.
3. Explore the network chain opportunities for Indigenous involvement in food tourism.
4. Develop postgraduate Indigenous research capacity and broaden scope of marine studies in academia.

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