Access to land and resources has not, in itself, been sufficient for improving the wellbeing of Indigenous people living in remote regions of Australia. Much of the land has limited potential for mainstream market-based economic development. However, some Indigenous Australians have been able to use wildlife commercially to realise economic opportunities and to enhance their capacity to engage in natural resource management on their land. In this paper, a case study is presented of one such enterprise which has managed a crocodile egg-harvesting operation from a remote township for almost 15 years. Using a sustainable livelihoods approach to conduct field observations and semi-structured interviews, key factors were identified that had contributed to the longevity of this operation. These were minimal anti-use sentiment, demonstrably sustainable harvests, the market, the institutional context, parent-organisation support, activating and enhancing capitals and capabilities, and locally relevant enterprise activity. The crocodile egg-harvesting activity investigated is an example of a community-governed natural resource-based enterprise that has been able to engage Indigenous people in market-based economic activity in remote northern Australia. The findings have potential value to Indigenous peoples and communities, development practitioners, policy-makers and natural resource managers interested in the sustainable use of wildlife and Indigenous economic development.
Austin, B., & Corey, B. (2012). Factors contributing to the longevity of the commercial use of crocodiles by Indigenous people in remote Northern Australia: a case study. Rangeland Journal, 34(3), 239 -248. https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ11082