Indigenous Fisheries Strategy

The development and implementation of the Indigenous Fisheries Strategy recognised the connection of Aboriginal culture to the fisheries resource and implemented a range of projects to protect and enhance the traditional cultural fishing activities of Aboriginal communities and ensure Aboriginal involvement in the stewardship of fisheries resources.

Consultation on the Indigenous Fisheries Strategy began in 1998 with a series of seventeen regional workshops held along the coast and inland.  At a meeting of representatives of Aboriginal groups in December 2000, participants were invited to raise further issues and discuss the outcomes of the regional workshops.

The Indigenous Fisheries Strategy was released on 20 December 2002.  Over 1,500 copies of the draft strategy were distributed to Aboriginal communities, there were 25 meetings with Aboriginal communities across regional NSW and 378 submissions were received.  $1.6 million was committed to implement the strategy over two years, which involved:

  • addressing Aboriginal issues in fishery management and marine park planning;
  • cultural awareness training for NSW Fisheries staff;
  • encouraging the involvement of Aboriginal people in aquaculture, community workshops, and business development; and
  • providing ongoing access to fisheries resources for traditional cultural activities.

Whilst many of the actions identified as part of the Indigenous Fisheries Strategy were implemented prior to June 2004, the intention was always to develop some strategies that would be ongoing. These strategies continue to be promoted, leading to the ongoing review of policy, identification of partnerships, and proposals for specific projects and programs.