• Emma Lee's research focuses on global examples for commercialising Indigenous foods. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Native ingredients could unite traditional knowledge and entrepreneurs.
Brooke Fryer

30 Mar 2019 - 11:04 AM  UPDATED 30 Mar 2019 - 6:47 PM

An academic wants to help establish a boat-to-table market in Tasmania bringing together restaurant chefs and Indigenous fishing.

Trawlwulwuy woman Emma Lee, one of many people working to advance Indigenous tourism in the Apple Isle, said she was inspired by the Winter Feast at Hobart's Dark Mofo festival .

A part of last year's festival program, the Palawa Fire Pit, showcased fresh seafood made with native ingredients bringing together Indigenous Tasmanian hosts and prominent chefs.

A key component of the nightly fireside gatherings was explaining the provenance and traditions around the food guests were eating.

“What they were able to see was that relationship between Aboriginal Tasmanians and other Tasmanians working together to put the best experience on a plate,” she told NITV.

Dr Lee — an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research fellow at Swinburne University's Centre for Social Impact and an ­adjunct lecturer at the University of Tasmania  — has been working with the state government to establish Indigenous cultural fisheries.

The idea is not new. Under a model which operates in New Zealand, a significant percentage of commercial fisheries licences are allocated to Maori groups.

Dr Lee believes Indigenous cultural fisheries could create new businesses based around traditional knowledge and provide jobs for Aboriginal fishermen.

Local restaurateurs, the fisheries industry and government have all reportedly expressed interest, lured by the premium prices that seafood attracts.

"We’re looking at engaging with partners in the industry to be able to badge and brand,” Dr Lee said.

“At the moment the funding is the least of our problems. We know we have something good here.”

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