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karin gerhardt

My work background includes a mix of natural resource management experience and research.  I spent 13 years at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority working with stakeholders and communities to help manage the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.  During this time, I gained experience across different management areas including environmental impact assessments for tourist operations, research permits and working with Traditional Owner groups on sea country management issues. I was also fortunate enough to be involved in the great work that the Indigenous Compliance Unit (ICU) do in partnership with Traditional Owner groups and Indigenous rangers.

The aspect of ‘livelihood’ that I’m particularly interested in, relates to the connections and values that people have with their country (especially sea country). I am interested in looking at the way that knowledge (e.g. local, fisher, Indigenous, organisational) sits within different knowledge systems and working with people to articulate (or promote) its place in natural resource management or conservation practices. Small scale fisheries and local management systems (including traditional compliance lore/rules etc) are intriguing in this livelihood space and I enjoy doing research at the community-based level that fosters participation and ownership of projects. This also includes adopting more contemporary, participative social science methods which are often used in pro-social research or human centred design.

These interests and experiences have led me to pursue a PhD, where I am working with the Yuku Baja Muliku Traditional Owners to develop the methods that can be used to describe the use and cultural values they have for sharks and rays and explore how, or what Indigenous knowledge of these species (including their uses and values) could be better recognised in science and management.