Involving Indigenous community members to assist with the monitoring of harvested populations can greatly assist with the sustainable use of these resources. The benefits of training Indigenous community members in western scientific methods include: increased capability development, increased employment opportunities and more cost effective monitoring output than could be undertaken by government agencies. The aim of this project was to develop a training course to provide elementary scientific skills to Indigenous participants from communities throughout the Northern Territory of Australia. The short term goals of the training were: (1) to increase the capacity of Indigenous communities to conduct monitoring activities and collect biological and physical samples, (2) to increase the employment opportunities for Indigenous community members by providing them with additional skills and a recognised qualification and (3) To provide a cost effective way of conducting monitoring activities in remote areas by using local capability rather than incurring the expense of sending a research team to these locations. The longer term goal of the training is to facilitate the development of research partnerships between Indigenous community members and management agencies as a first step in the move to co-management of aquatic resources. The key components for successfully developing the course were; consistent engagement with Indigenous communities to build relationships and identify priorities for both the community and government agency, the course content involved participation from community members and government scientists, the training addressed the needs of students with English as a second language, the course content was heavily practical and pictorial, assessments were verbal and/or practical and students were housed in accommodation that allowed them to conduct the course to the best of their ability. The research that has been conducted by the participants, as well as three students gaining employment in government research agencies since the completion of the course, suggest that the training has been successful in achieving its short term goals. The research partnerships that have been developed between the government agency and Indigenous community members are still in their infancy, so the move to co-management between these groups is still several years away. However, this training has provided an initial step in this process by increasing the monitoring capability within a substantial number of coastal Indigenous communities that allows them to participate in research programs that underpin the management of their aquatic resources.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 5, 2016
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