Indigenous Fishing Subprogram: Ensuring that fishing and seafood industry focused RD&E delivers improved economic, environmental and social benefits to Australia’s Indigenous people – IRG and Indigenous Subprogram Support
Chris E. Calogeras
There is still ongoing need for planning and implementation of targeted, effective RD&E activities that address Indigenous sector priorities. The FRDC assist addressing this by supporting and resourcing the IRG through projects, and an Indigenous RD&E SubProgram. There has been remarkable progress since the inception of the IRG, but identified market failures still exist as most agencies, researchers and other stakeholders still have limited capacity to interact and engage with the Indigenous sector, and fully reap the opportunities and benefits. The pool of Indigenous people who have the expertise and/or wish to be involved in the process is growing, but is still inadequate to address identified needs. This is a key focal area for the IRG for the future, including supporting a formalised capacity building program that improves understanding and knowledge of research, management, governance, and agency processes. Opportunities exist to: • Increase the pool of Indigenous people with expertise and desire to engage in RD&E and associated policy process • Build two-way capacity by enhancing non-Indigenous stakeholders’ knowledge and capability • Improve culturally appropriate knowledge/data for the Indigenous fishing sector to address Indigenous Australians, researchers and managers’ needs • Transition research to policy • Enhance Indigenous focussed projects at a jurisdictional level through improved connectivity between IRG and RAC/IPA • Manage expectations that the IRG is a one-stop shop for all Indigenous issues related to the industry by developing processes to expand networks and engagement. The IRG is different to other programs as it provides a service that covers a number of additional areas. An aim is to break the need of the FRDC and RACs in seeing the IRG as the sole conveyer of Indigenous input. In the interim this necessary service is subsidised by FRDC as we seek to develop an alternate mechanism.
1. Work with Indigenous people and other stakeholders, to facilitate the identification of Indigenous RD&E priorities annually, and develop projects to address those priorities.
2. Assist FRDC with management of the Indigenous Subprogram and the portfolio of projects with significant benefit to, or impact on, the Indigenous fishing sector.
3. Facilitate dissemination of R&D outputs
4. Encourage coordination and co-investment in RD&E which benefits the Indigenous fishing community.