Fisheries compliance training hooks Indigenous Rangers

Indigenous Rangers from across the Northern Territory are this week undertaking training to boost their skills and knowledge in fisheries compliance.

Fifteen rangers from coastal and inland areas of the Northern Territory are studying a Certificate II in Fisheries Compliance, which includes investigating fishing activities on and near the marine environment.

The training is part of the NT Government’s commitment to improving the skills and capacity of Indigenous rangers.

It supports training and development to empower Indigenous people to manage and protect their own environment on behalf of all Territorians—and creates jobs and opportunities at the same time.

Student James Desantis from Melville Island said the knowledge he was gaining as a ranger was helping him understand his role in the community and country.

“It’s good for me to pass this knowledge onto the younger generation so they can learn about caring for our country and our waterways.

“The training is awesome—all these new things we’re learning are very handy for us on the island, how we interact with the police and fisheries,” added Mr Desantis.

Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR), Marine Ranger Manager, Simon Xuereb said this training would allow rangers, who often worked remotely in isolated environments, to operate confidently as compliance officers.

“They will investigate fishing activity and equipment and if any illegal activity is suspected they will be able to prepare the evidence for police to act on the matter,” said Mr Xuereb.

“Water Police used to spend days travelling to remote locations to investigate fishing activity. Now, ranger groups are routinely tasked with surveillance work. They have teams and assets already on the ground in remote regions, enabling them to target illegal activities and deliver high quality results.”

There is a high demand for the training, and students are selected based on ranger groups’ recommendations. The course was facilitated at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, with students attending from communities including Elcho Island, Croker Island, Goulburn Island, Daly River, Numbulwar, Minimini and the Tiwi Islands.

The program is the result of partnerships between DPIR, Indigenous Marine Rangers, NT Aboriginal Land Councils, NT Police and the Australian Maritime and Fisheries Academy.

James Desantis from the Tiwi Islands undertaking training to receive his certificate II in Fisheries Compliance.