Conducting Environmental Research in Torres Strait


A brief guide to conducting environmental research in Torres Strait

Planning to undertake research in the Torres Strait?

  • Community support for research projects is vital, so ensure you have contacted the appropriate community representatives including the local Councillor and Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) Chair to seek their support in writing before your project goes ahead.
  • Clearly explain what the potential benefits of your research might be for Traditional Owners and communities, including any potential benefit-sharing agreements, how traditional ecological knowledge might be incorporated and protected, and the proposed degree of involvement of local community members in your research.
  • Securing community support and undertaking field work can be complex, and may experience delays due to a range of logistical, weather and other challenges, so ensure your project planning allows sufficient time for these possibilities.
  • Permission is required from the local Councillor before visiting outer island communities and visitors must sign in at the Council office immediately upon arrival.
  • Be aware of local cultural protocols and sensitivities.
  • Communities are heavily consulted by government and researchers alike so please be mindful of this and ensure any consultation is appropriately timed and appropriately pitched for Indigenous audiences.
  • Communities should be notified in advance of consultation by sending a poster flyer to the Council for display on community notice boards.
  • Be aware of the high cost of travel and limited accommodation on most outer island communities.
  • When someone passes away on a community (sorry business) visits to communities need to be deferred to enable the community time and space to mourn.
  • If you are planning to undertake any environmental research please first contact the TSRA Land and Sea Management Unit who can provide information to support your planning and help put you in touch with others you need to contact.
  • For fisheries and marine research activities, it is recommended that you also follow the processes outlined in the attached fisheries research protocols.