Media release

9 August 2022

First Nations representatives from around Australia will gather at Cairns on 10–11 August to share experiences of sea country research and monitoring, and explore national networking opportunities.

More than 80 participants are expected to attend the 2022 AMSA Indigenous Workshop which is part of the annual Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) Conference.

First Nations participants will travel from as far as Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and there is a strong representation from Traditional Owners of the Great Barrier Reef.

The workshop will bring together people involved in programs for sea country management, people involved in grassroots projects such as seagrass and reef restoration, and people from research, management, government and funding agencies.

It will build on other First Nations-led initiatives to generate a shared understanding of Indigenous research priorities, and options for working towards nationally coordinated approaches that can be implemented at a local and regional scale.

Increasing the participation and leadership of Traditional Owners in marine and coastal research leads to improved outcomes for First Nations communities.

The needs and aspirations of First Nations Peoples are elevated in the process, along with opportunities to combine Indigenous knowledge and western science.

‘AMSA promotes an inclusive approach to marine science in Australia,’ AMSA President, Dr Rachel Przeslawski says.
‘This year marks the seventh consecutive Indigenous workshop, the most significant to date. It also marks the inaugural Indigenous Excellence in Sea Country Award.’

The historical series of annual workshops at the AMSA conference was initiated in 2016 under the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP).

The workshops have promoted the importance of Indigenous engagement and participation in marine science, as well as First Nations interests and culturally appropriate pathways to engage and establish such partnerships.

This year the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub is working with AMSA, the Northern Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) to plan, facilitate and sponsor the workshop.

‘The 2022 workshop provides a great opportunity to bring Indigenous people together from all Australia’s states and territories to advance a national approach to ensure the Indigenous research agenda is led by Indigenous voices,’ NAILSMA Chief Executive Officer and Marine and Coastal Hub Indigenous researcher, Ricky Archer, says.

‘Indigenous leadership in marine science is critical to promoting healthy people and a healthy and productive marine environment.’

GBRF Director Traditional Owner Partnerships, Liz Wren, welcomes the opportunity to bring sea country mob from around Australia together to discuss what First Nations Science is.

Additionally they may explore what mechanisms might be established for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to share their science and research priorities with national decision makers in a way that safeguards Indigenous Culture and Intellectual Property.

The workshop is supported by the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Queensland Government, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Geoscience Australia, Parks Australia and Sydney Institute of Marine Science.

Australian Marine Science Association

The Australian Marine Science Association is Australia’s peak professional body for marine scientists from all disciplines and for over 50 years has promoted all aspects of marine science in Australia.

AMSA Conference website