The representation of Aboriginal health and wellbeing values within coastal marine and fisheries policies of the Northern Territory of Australia

Beau Cubillo, julie Brimblecombe, Natasha Stacey

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Abstract

Aboriginal Peoples in the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia have customary connections to seafood for cultural practices, nourishment, livelihoods, and social connections which have been linked to health and wellbeing outcomes. Global and national entities have called for health and self-determination principles to be considered across all public policies to continue to improve health and wellbeing outcomes. Specifically, there is a growing acknowledgement that the fisheries sector plays a crucial role in enhancing and supporting Indigenous health and wellbeing. However, there is limited understanding of how this can be achieved. This study applies a content analysis of ten NT fisheries policy documents to investigate: (1) the representation of Indigenous values; (2) Indigenous health and wellbeing outcomes and (3) the positioning of self-determination within NT coastal, marine and fishery policies. Findings reveal that policy focus is primarily concerned with the conservation and management of environments and resources, fisheries, management and sustainability, and fisheries-based economic development. The consideration of health and wellbeing outcomes are not explicitly represented, including fisheries as a source of food production. This is concerning considering the contribution of seafood to Indigenous Peoples diets and food security. Despite these limitations, self-determination principles were represented within the policies by recognising Aboriginal aspirations through, for example social, cultural, and environmental outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalMaritime Studies
Volume23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2024

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