About the theme


The unique environment of the Kimberley is an area of scientific interest and focus for researchers, yet the care and management of the land and saltwater country by Traditional Owners reflects a deep and rich cultural association formed over thousands of years. Integrating Indigenous peoples’ knowledge with Western science is a key element to ensuring the best outcomes for future management and conservation of the Kimberley.

The Kimberley Indigenous Saltwater Science Project (KISSP) was developed to improve the ways in which research and monitoring is planned and undertaken in the Kimberley to ensure that both Indigenous and Western science partners are involved.

KISSP has produced a range of documents that seek to build capacity for collaborative management of Kimberley Saltwater Country.


  • Integrate Indigenous knowledge and management practices into Kimberley marine conservation and management.
  • Develop standard and agreed community process and protocols and a research agreement template to underpin marine research in the Kimberley and an implementation strategy to build awareness in the science community of the need for this engagement.
  • Develop a framework and protocols for standardising data collection, storage and analysis methodologies that can be used to monitor saltwater country across the Kimberley. This includes the development of a training package for agreed research targets for delivery to rangers to develop internal capacity in these standardised techniques.


  • The KISSP working group was formed, consisting of representatives from seven saltwater country communities.
  • Research collaborators were selected by the working group to undertake the research to meet the project objectives.
  • On-country meetings and workshops with Traditional Owners from each of these seven communities were undertaken.
  •  A survey of current monitoring tools used by Indigneous rangers was undertaken, along with a survey of researchers and their experience working with Traditional Owners.


  • This project confirmed the value of communication and collaboration between researchers and Indienous people in contributing to successful research outcomes.
  • A set of key documents and tools have been produced that will guide and support Right-Way research and enhance collaboration between researchers and Traditional Owners.
  • Toolbox of monitoring techniques available for use by Indigenous rangers in healthy country management
  • Training package developed for Indigenous rangers to monitor healthy country


  • Subreport : Mobilising Indigenous Knowledge for the Collaborative Management of Kimberley Saltwater Country
  • Subreport : Guidelines for Collaborative Knowledge Work in Kimberley Saltwater Country
  • Subreport: A Regional Framework for Saltwater Monitoring in the Kimberley
  • Subproject: Kimberley Saltwater Monitoring Toolbox
  • Subproject: Pilot training package for Kimberley Indigenous Rangers: Monitoring for Management

Click here for a diagram explaining how these reports work as a whole.


Project News

Indigenous partners in the Kimberley – a new guide for researchers

Kimberley moves on integrating Traditional Knowledge and science


Austin B, Robinson C, Mathews D, Oades D, Wiggin A, Dobbs R, Lincoln G, Garnettt S. (2019) An Indigenous-Led Approach for Regional Knowledge Partnerships in the Kimberley Region of Australia. Human Ecology



Navigating knowledge currents in Kimberley Saltwater Country (2017 WAMSI Research Conference)

People and Saltwater Country in the Kimberley (2017 WAMSI Research Conference)

Using a Multiple Evidence Based approach to mobilise Indigenous knowledge and science (2017 WAMSI Research Conference)

Using social values to inform marine spatial planning. (2017 WAMSI Research Conference)

Working together on Country for healthy country and MPA management. (2017 WAMSI Research Conference)

A Regional Framework for Saltwater Monitoring in the Kimberley (2017 WAMSI Research Conference)

Overviewing a new (draft) process for land & sea research on Kimberley saltwater Country Developed through the Kimberley Indigenous Saltwater Science Project 2016-2017 (IOMRC Seminar 2017)

Kimberley Indigenous Saltwater Science Project (Parks and Wildlife Lunch and Learn Seminar 2017)

Kimberley Marine Research Program (AMSA 2017 Indigneous Workshop)


Program: Kimberley Marine Research

Location: Kimberley Region

Theme Leader: Dean Mathews, Nyamba Buru Yawuru



Final Report

Guide for Researchers

KLC protocol

Wunambal Gaambera Protocol

Yawuru Protocol

Communication Tools