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

Controlling crown-of-thorns starfish on Sea Country – an Indigenous leadership perspective (#35)

Rickard Abom 1 , Daniel Beard 2 , Rod Jensen 2 , Dave Rutherford 2 , Paul Boag 2 , Sheriden Morris 1
  1. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Cairns, QLD
  2. Inloc Group, Cairns, QLD

Recognising the right of First Nations Peoples to maintain and develop cultural practices that supports their spiritual, cultural, social and economic connections to Sea Country is fundamental. The Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (COTS) Manual Control and Leadership Program will deliver qualifications and leadership skills to a cohort of young Reef Traditional Owners to empower strong management of Sea Country – in Conservation and Ecosystem Management, Marine Operations, and Leadership. The training is being delivered in Cairns over an 18-months period on Sea Country throughout North Queensland with a particular focus on COTS pest control management. Balancing hands-on delivery with classroom learnings with special emphasis to maintain links to home communities and community-based projects on-country. The foundational program pillars are;

   • A culturally safe and co-designed leadership program,
   • Students will attain formal marine and leadership qualifications with the opportunity to gain employment,
   • Develop, promote and share the cultural protocol for culturally appropriate training and employment,
   • Share COTS data with Traditional Owner groups on whose Sea Country work is conducted.

In this presentation we will share insights and learnings form the early stages of the Traditional Owner Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Manual Control and Leadership Program.