The Northern Land Council congratulates Calvin Deveraux as Chairman and Robert ‘Bo’ Carne as Chief Executive Officer of the recently incorporated Aboriginal Sea Company (ASC).
Mr Deveraux was elected as Chair by directors at the inaugural ASC board meeting in mid-April while Mr Carne will commence his role as CEO in early June.
Governed by a board comprising equal representation from the three land councils with traditional ownership of sea country – Northern Land Council, Tiwi Land Council and Anindilyakwa Land Council – as well as independent industry experts, it is envisaged that the ASC will empower Aboriginal Traditional Owners to be actively engaged in the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries.
Currently the Cattle Station Manager at Twin Hill Aboriginal Corporation, Mr Deveraux is a Rak Mak Mak Marranunggu man from the Finniss area. He has been a member of the NLC Full Council for the Darwin Daly Wagait region since 2019 and is also a former Cultural Broker for the NT Department of Attorney-General and Justice.
Mr Deveraux said the incorporation of the ASC marks a major milestone in the Blue Mud Bay settlement.
“I don’t think we’ll look back from this point on. It’s a great opportunity for Traditional Owners and saltwater people to advance themselves, become owners and operators in their own right and be in charge of their own destinies,” said Mr Deveraux.
Mr Carne is a Jabirr Jabirr and Bardi man with 17 years’ experience in NT Fisheries development and five years’ experience as an executive with NT Government.
In 2012, Mr Carne visited Canada and the US to investigate governance structures for Indigenous groups involved in commercial fishing as part of a scholarship from Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.
He also reviewed fishing cooperatives in New South Wales as a potential model for assisting Aboriginal people to get started in fishing enterprises.
Mr Carne said the establishment of the ASC has been a long time coming.
“It’s not just about the fishing licences, ownership and participation, it’s also about having a greater say in management. Indigenous people have always had a small voice in the fishing industries, but they are now major players in it,” Mr Carne said.
“On top of that, we’ve got all these coastal communities looking for employment so it’s a great leap forward.”
“I am particularly looking forward to partnering with the fishing industries and utilising their long-term expertise.”
NLC Chair Samuel Bush-Blanasi congratulated Mr Deveraux and Mr Carne on their appointments.
“Aboriginal people are much closer to being in control of what happens in their own waters now,” said Mr Bush-Blanasi.
“Our mob has fought hard for rights to land and sea country for almost 50 years and finally we are seeing progress. The ASC will be good for Traditional Owners and good for the economy. All Territorians will benefit from that.”