Incorporating indigenous knowledge in environmental management is becoming increasingly important in the derivation of alternative solutions to the management of resources. It also satisfies the political demands of indigenous communities to exercise their rights and responsibilities to traditional resources. In this thesis I explore some of the principles underlying western and indigenous knowledge approaches to environmental management, and demonstrate a growing theoretical convergence between the two, which thereby presents a greater possibility for closer collaboration.
Using a constructivist methodology, I provide a comparative investigation of sea mullet and oyster management in Moreton Bay. This research focuses specifically on the landscape and seascape constructs of the Queensland Fisheries Service (QFS) and the traditional Aboriginal community of Moreton Bay - the people of Quandamooka. Results from this case study indicate that while both management parties aspire to achieve sustainability, disparate world views and theoretical assumptions inform their respective management practices. Current QFS approaches reflect positivist and economic - dominated strategies (constructs reminiscent of the Enlightenment period) while Quandamooka community approaches represent constructivist and holistic ecosystem - based strategies.
The different management constructs vary to such a degree that current incorporation of Quandamooka knowledge seems futile. Recommendations include the need for further research into more collaborative, inclusive, co-management arrangements. This requires fundamental changes in current QFS constructs, including the need to treat the Quandamooka community as a traditional owner and right holder, not just a stakeholder, and to move beyond species specific and economic - dominated strategies towards ecosystem - based alternatives. It is suggested that by doing so, the QFS could adopt the principles of sustainability and not just the words of sustainability, with the potential benefits of incorporating indigenous knowledge thus pursued by government on an equal footing with traditional owners.