Between 2016 and 2018, the NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub has worked closely with Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) to plan, facilitate and sponsor workshops aimed at advancing Indigenous engagement and participation in marine science. The Fremantle 2019 workshop, convened 10-11 July, was designed to build on previous AMSA Indigenous engagement workshops by focusing discussion and interactions on collaborative partnerships for sea country research and monitoring in Western Australia (WA).
There is a growing number of Indigenous groups in Western Australia with achievements and aspirations for participation in sea country research and monitoring. At the same time numerous marine research providers (i.e. marine research institutions and marine management agencies) operating in WA have, or intend to invest in the development of policies, guides or other documentation to guide their marine researchers with Indigenous engagement, with varying degrees of Indigenous input. While this is an encouraging sign for collaborative partnerships in sea country research and monitoring, we are reaching the point where there is likely to be considerable duplication between research providers and where Indigenous organisations are struggling to resource their engagement in numerous bespoke engagement processes or protocols. An alternative way forward is the development of a common approach to Indigenous engagement that provides a standard that all Indigenous groups and research providers working on sea country could agree to (or aspire to).
The workshop brought together approximately 60 invited Indigenous and marine science participants to share their experiences and thoughts about the development of a common standard for Indigenous engagement in sea country research and monitoring in WA - better ways of working together on sea country. Furthermore, the workshop provided a good opportunity to explore and identify opportunities for collaborative and respectful partnerships for sea country research and monitoring in WA.