Annick Thomassin

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Australian National U.

Grant number

Gr. 10189

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Thomassin, Annick (Australian National U.) "Preparation of manuscript for publication of thesis: "This Part of the Sea Belongs to Us": Politics, Sea Rights and Fisheries Co-management in the Torres Strait"

Co-management arrangements emerged in response to the limits and flaws of centralized, command-and-control, and bio-economic approaches to fisheries management. Acknowledging that fisheries are complex socio-ecological systems, collaborative management purported to be more inclusive of fishers’ knowledge and preoccupations. Co-management arrangements between central governments and Indigenous polities are widely promoted as opportunities to empower Indigenous peoples and to access and incorporate their knowledge. This book scrutinizes the assumptions, institutions and politics of fisheries co-management as they are actualized in the Torres Strait region of northeast Australia. It documents the opportunities and barriers embedded in the managerial structures that frame Indigenous peoples’ rights and capacities in decision-making, and brings attention to Indigenous peoples’ agency within and outside of the co-management relationship. This book makes two important contributions to the limited but growing critical scholarship on co-management. Firstly, it shows that Indigenous worldviews and lifeways must not merely be accommodated but be drivers of the design and implementation of co-management arrangements. Secondly, it demonstrates that a paradigm shift is necessary if fisheries co-management is to support Torres Strait Islander defined fisheries and broader lifeways. The study argues for the renegotiation of co-management relationships in a way that genuinely engages with Indigenous worldviews. Collaborative approaches alone are not sufficient to shift the assumptions underpinning Western models and the mechanisms that enable their reproduction.