Standard Presentation (15 mins) - Edits Required Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

Seeking to facilitate genuine marine research partnerships with northern Australian Traditional Owners – the AIMS journey so far (#77)

Manuwuri T Forester 1 , Bob Muir 1 , Martial Depczynski 1 , Jordan Ivey 1 , Rafe Pfitzner Milika 1 , Elizabeth Evans-Illidge 1
  1. Indigenous Partnerships, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

For millennia, Traditional Owners have held inherent rights, interests and knowledge of Australia’s marine environment.  The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is implementing an institutional research governance model to respect and uphold these rights and interests to achieve genuine research partnerships with Traditional Owners [1,2].  Our approach focuses on the principle of Free Prior Informed Consent to uphold Lore and position Traditional Owners as decision makers on their sea Country.  This supports aspirations within the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [3], which are not yet embraced in the regulatory framework for marine science in Australia.  Indigenous interest in sea Country is especially significant in Australia given continuous occupation of coastal areas at least since the time of the last glacial maximum when areas such as the Great Barrier Reef were a vast inhabited coastal plain [4]. We will present our progress so far using case studies that showcase our success as well as an honest account of the challenges and lessons learnt. 

  1. E. Evans-Illidge, T. Forester, M. Depczynski, E. Duggan and D. Souter, “AIMS Indigenous Partnerships Plan - from engagement to partnerships,” Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, 2020.
  2. AIMS, “Indigenous Partnerships Policy,” Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, 2021.
  3. UN, “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” 2007. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 2022].
  4. P. D. Nunn and N. J. Reid, “Aboriginal memories of inundation of the Australian coast dating from more than 7000 years ago.,” Australian Geographer, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 11-47, 2016.