Picture provided by Karin Gerhardt

Picture provided by Karin Gerhardt

understanding indigenous shark fisheries in far north queensland

There is a concern at local, national and global levels that many shark and ray species are suffering population declines and that conventional fishery approaches are not adequate. Most fishery management tools are currently informed by western science and the role that Indigenous knowledge has in contributing to shark/ray research and management is not considered. This project looks at whether shark/ray research and management efforts may benefit from a holistic approach that recognizes Indigenous knowledge and the role of Indigenous knowledge holders.

Working with the Yuku Baja Muliku Traditional Owners, we are looking at 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.

This project will be an opportunity for Traditional Owner groups to not only highlight their own knowledge systems and to express their knowledge and practice about animals (sharks and rays), but it will be a chance to look at current management and science that is occurring for sharks and rays with regard to fisheries management, science and species management.

While the project is centred on the role of Indigenous knowledge and will mainly focus on working with Traditional Owners located in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, it will also explore how managers and scientists currently use Indigenous knowledge in their disciplines and identify the barriers and opportunities that may lead to a more holistic, inclusive and comprehensive management approach.

Principal Investigator: Karin Gerhardt supervised by Amy Diedrich, Erin Bohensky (CSIRO), Colin Simpfendorfer     

Collaborators: Yuku Baja Muliku Traditional Owners    

Funding:  Marine Biodiversity Hub - National Environmental Science Programme and James Cook University Graduate Scholarship Scheme