The 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference is almost here again and will this year be held at Alice Springs Convention Centre over Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 June. 

Mr Clem Bresson, Enterprise Development Manager at the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘Opportunities and constraints to TO-led seafood and fishing enterprises’.

Abstract

Top End remote aboriginal communities have shown a lot of interest in the development of seafood enterprises. Creating economic development opportunities by making way of sustainable use of coastal marine resources is seen as a way to sustain and improve people’s livelihoods. Recent recognition of Indigenous rights Aboriginal land in the NT extending to the low water mark has made way for the NT Government to legislate for the creation of Aboriginal Coastal Fishing Licences A(CL) for the coastal land owners.

In this presentation we report on the results of a qualitative project to evaluate a small fishing venture. In 2008, Australia’s High Court ruled that Aboriginal land in the NT extends to the low water mark. This made way for the NT Government to legislate for the creation of Aboriginal Coastal Fishing Licences for the coastal land owners. Three Traditional Owners (TO) from outstations near Maningrida were the first group to commence operations under the new Aboriginal Coastal Fishing Licence provisions in 2016 which allow them to catch and sell select fish species using a variety of gear. The fishing enterprise is supported by Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation and is helped by family members via participation in the Community Development Program. The NT Government also provides training and mentoring support.

In this presentation we report on the results of a qualitative project to evaluate a small fishing venture. The results provide the first assessment of a small-scale Indigenous coastal fishing business in north Australia. We describe the fishery and business operations; the successes and barriers, and the benefits (economic, health, cultural, social). We review the suitability of employment, legal and policy frameworks to encourage the development of viable TO-led seafood ventures in northern Australia. We also discuss the aspirations of the Aboriginal Licence holders for the future.

Biography

Don Wilton has led the development of a small-scale fishing enterprise based on the homelands surrounding Maningrida in Arnhem Land. Don Wilton has been fishing his whole life and applied in 2016 for an Aboriginal Coastal Licence. With the support of Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, NT Fisheries and the Community Development Program, he supplies fish to his community, neighbouring communities and occasionally Darwin. Don is a saltwater man from Nardilmuk outstation. Don is also a qualified mechanic and has worked all of life for various community organisations in Maningrida, including as a CDEP coordinator.

For more information on the 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference and to secure your spot in Alice Springs this June please visit the conference website.