Natasha Stacey

Dr Natasha Stacey holds a PhD in anthropology from the Northern Territory University. Over the last 15 years she worked on natural resource management research and development projects across the Pacific Islands and eastern Indonesia, and more recently northern Australia, Timor Leste and Malaysia.

She spent most of the 1990s conducting research into the social, cultural and economic drivers of Bajo and other Indonesian traditional fishing activity in Australian waters. During 2000- 2005 she was employed as a Community Assessment and Participation Specialist on a  Global Environment Facility-funded Pacific International Waters Project based at the headquarters of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in Samoa. For the last six years she has worked as a Research Fellow at Charles Darwin University and currently holds a Senior Research Fellow position in the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University. Recent research projects include development of alternative livelihoods for communities in the Northern Territory and West Timor, Indonesia; building local capacity for whale shark conservation in eastern Indonesia; designing a participatory monitoring framework to support joint management of Parks in the Northern Territory, and improving coastal and marine livelihoods, and fisheries management in the Arafura-Timor Seas region. Her research interests include

  • Social, cultural and economic issues impacting on environmental values, natural resources and protected areas
  • Approaches for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research for improved community-based resource management
  • Participatory planning processes and facilitation, social impact assessment
  • Bajo and Indonesian fishing activity in the Arafura and Timor seas
  • Maritime and environmental anthropology.

Boats to Burn »

Bajo Fishing Activity in the Australian Fishing Zone

Authored by: Natasha Stacey
Under a Memorandum of Understanding between Indonesia and Australia, traditional Indonesian fishermen are permitted access to fish in a designated area inside the 200 nautical mile Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ). However, crew and vessels are regularly apprehended for illegal fishing activity outside the permitted areas and, after prosecution in Australian courts, their boats and equipment are destroyed and the fishermen repatriated to Indonesia. This is an ethnographic study of one group of Indonesian maritime people who operate in the AFZ. It concerns Bajo people who originate from villages in the Tukang Besi Islands, Southeast Sulawesi. It explores the social, cultural, economic and historic conditions which underpin Bajo sailing and fishing voyages in the AFZ. It also examines issues concerning Australian maritime expansion and Australian government policies, treatment and understanding of Bajo fishing. The study considers the concept of “traditional” fishing regulating access to the MOU area based on use of unchanging technology, and consequences arising from adherence to such a view of “traditional”; the effect of Australian maritime expansion on Bajo fishing activity; the effectiveness of policy in providing for fishing rights and stopping illegal activity, and why Bajo continue to fish in the AFZ despite a range of ongoing restrictions on their activity.