Improving data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander marine resource use to inform decision-making

Project Number:



Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA)

Principal Investigator:

Daniel Casement

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:



The level of engagement in recreational and traditional fishing by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is poorly documented at the national scale, with arguably some of the most significant knowledge gaps existing with regard to resource use occuring in the southern states. Issue of appropriate levels of sectorial allocation are often a common driver. This information is also vital in identifying suitable future fisheries developmental, stewardship and training opportunities in Indigenous communities (SA Research Priorities 2018 Indigenous – SARAC). Past challenges to collecting representative information have been identified during previous recreational fishing surveys that attempted to quantify components of Indigenous fishing catch and effort. Recent on-site fishing surveys provided site-specific catch and effort in Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA) (Rogers et al. 2010, 2014), yet found that targeted interview techniques would need to be evaluated and adopted to capture the scale of the Indigenous components of the broader recreational and traditional fishery information. Several approaches to collecting data on traditional and Indigenous recreational fisheries require evaluation. Following extensive discussions within government agencies, with community groups and Aboriginal nations, during the IRG priority setting discussions, during the recent Indigenous forum at the AMSA conference, the priority needs have been identified. The proposed project will support a series of regional meetings with key stakeholders and two national level expert workshops that will work with community groups to identifiy, develop and plan appropriate methods and strategies to address the critical information gaps in a manner that also aims to integrate non-scientific cultural knowledge flows.


1. Conduct national workshops to identify appropriate methodologies for collecting spatially and temporally resolved catch and effort information for a range of indigenous fisheries.

2. Investigate and evaluate approaches for assessing the relative importance of key species to traditional fishing to inform multi-sectoral decision-making processes.