Project number: 2017-069
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $194,892.00
Principal Investigator: Ian Knuckey
Organisation: Fishwell Consulting Pty Ltd
Project start/end date: 31 Aug 2017 - 29 Nov 2019


Presently, there appears to be no existing program that is suitable for Indigenous participants to gain a basic understanding of fisheries management processes and governance structures, and an introduction to leadership skills. There is also no program that provides fisheries managers and researchers with experience in understanding indigenous fishing and culture. This two-way gap is considered to be a barrier to increasing participation of Indigenous Australians in participating in a range of fisheries management, policy and research and development processes. Recognising this, the FRDC issues a call for expressions of interest to address this gap on 3 May 2007.


1. Develop a national, culturally appropriate capacity building program for involvement of Indigenous Australians in fisheries management.
2. Build capacity of 20 Indigenous Australians to participate in a range of fisheries management, policy and research and development processes by increasing their knowledge, skills and experience of fisheries research concepts and practices, current approaches to fisheries management and policy, fishery governance structures, understanding of, and capacity to participate in relevant committees and workshops and providing an introduction to leadership and building leadership knowledge.
3. Increase the understanding of managers, researchers and MAC and RAG members of potential contributions of Indigenous Australians and cultural aspects of their own engagement processes.
4. Foster an ongoing legacy of the project to enable capacity building to be undertaken regularly as required.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-6480172-6-4
Authors: Ian Knuckey Jill Briggs Matt Koopman and Matt Woods
Final Report • 2020-03-01 • 4.61 MB


This project aimed to address the need to increase the number of Indigenous Australians with capacity to engage in management and governance of fisheries and aquatic resources, by developing a capacity building program with supporting materials and conducting capacity building activities with several groups of Indigenous people. In consultation with the Indigenous Reference Group, educational materials were developed covering technical components of fisheries management and science, formal meeting processes and leadership skills. A three-day interactive workshop was held in Brisbane and in Adelaide, each featuring a series of videos and PowerPoints.  Printed summary sheets were provided. At the request of the Torres Strait Regional Authority, an additional workshop for 14 Protected Zone Joint Authority members was held. A total of 40 Indigenous people from around Australia took part in the workshops. The videos feature Indigenous presenters and case studies aligned to Indigenous fishing practices and they promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their cultures and connection to fisheries to other stakeholders. The materials produced can be used across Australia to empower Indigenous participation in sustainable fisheries management.  They are now being utilised in a subsequent four-year project by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to foster more effective engagement of representatives of Indigenous, recreational and commercial fisheries with Commonwealth fisheries management processes.

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Project products



This YouTube series features six videos produced by Fishwell Consulting as part of FRDC Project 2017-069 and covers the following topics:

  1. introduction to the Indigenous Traditional Owners involved in the project
  2. factors that impact on fish populations
  3. explanation on how the changing status of fish stocks are assessed
  4. different ways that fisheries are monitored and managed
  5. meeting formalities to ensure important messages from the Indigenous people get heard
  6. the importance of why Indigenous people are involved contemporary fisheries managemen

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