Grey mackerel, Scomberomorus semifasciatus (Macleay, 1884), is one of several species of mackerel (Family Scombridae) that are popular with commercial, recreational and indigenous fishers throughout northernAustralia. The species is endemic to the northern Australian region and ranges from Moreton Bay in south east Queensland, north along the Queensland coast to the southern parts of Papua New Guinea, and then west across the top of northernAustralia to Shark Bay on the mid Western Australian coast line (Collette and Nauen 1983). Its known preferred habitat is inshore in the often turbid waters of tropical and sub-tropical areas where they feed on pelagic baitfish of sardines and herrings, and so become seasonally available to fishing operations. At certain times of the year they can also be found around rocky headlands and inshore reefs (D. Welch, pers. obs.). Larval and juvenile life history stages of grey mackerel are found inshore, often in estuarine environments, where they feed almost exclusively on other larvae with prey sometimes reaching up to 89% of the mackerel’s own body length (Jenkins et al. 1984).
Consequently, the task of analysing governance across northernAustralia is an extensive one; a job worthy of detailed analysis at a wide range of scales from the whole of northernAustralia, to states/territories, regions, catchments, local governments, sub-catchments, communities, properties and even down to paddocks. Given the depth of analysis required, for the purposes of this paper, we have chosen to focus on the catchment-scale as it is the scale at which local and broader interests intersect and within which land and water issues can be considered jointly (Allan and Johnson, 1997). Catchments also tend to be the scale at which NRM issues intersect with wider economic and social agenda. We also need, however, to consider the impact that governance at other scales has on catchments. Additionally, assessing governance across all northern Australian catchments would itself be a massive task, so we restrict our attention to three focus catchments; the Fitzroy (WA), the Daly (NT) and the Gilbert (Qld) (Figure 2). These focal catchments were selected because they all face potential conflict between irrigation, mining, pastoral, Indigenous and conservation needs and because they present opportunities for emerging ecosystem service markets that are now set to influence northern landscape management (CSIRO, 2012).
These initiatives occur within a context of highly untenable conditions, with Indigenous people generally having the lowest economic status of all Australians. Key indicators such as life expectancy, income, health, employment status, and educational level, show large differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples (Altman 2000). Importantly for the Northern Australian context, Indigenous peoples in remote situations, which includes those living outside the main urban centres, are even worse off with mean earnings of $350/wk (ABS 2004). The data also show that a lack of available jobs is much more frequently identified as the reason for unemployment for remote Indigenous people, with 47.7% reporting that there are either no jobs or none in their line of work, compared to only 18.7% for non-remote people (Schwab 2005). Specific case studies in NorthernAustralia highlight the significant health problems faced by Indigenous people (Queensland Ambulance Service Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Unit 2000).
Phosphorus deficiency occurs in cattle grazing many rangeland regions, including in northernAustralia, due to low concentrations of P in soil, and thus pasture, and may severely reduce cattle growth and breeder productivity (Winks 1990; McCosker and Winks 1994). Phosphorus deficiency results in decreased pasture and energy intakes, poor growth, reduced fertility and milk production, and high breeder mortality. In addition to poor performance, in the absence of vaccination there is an increased risk of mortality from botulism associated with osteophagia (Dixon et al. 2017). P deficiency of grazing cattle is usually addressed by P supplementation to provide the dietary requirements. Numerous experiments have reported large increases in voluntary intake of pasture (10-40%), growth rate (up to 100 kg/annum), reproductive performance expressed as weaning rates (10-30%), and weaner liveweights (10-40 kg) when P deficient cattle were fed additional P (Winks 1990, Wadsworth et al. 1990; McCosker and Winks 1994; Jackson et al. 2012). Large effects have also been observed on mortality and morbidity rates (Schatz and McCosker 2018). The biological response to P supplementation has often been related to the extent of a P deficiency and rangeland soil P has been classed as ranging from ‘adequate’ to ‘acutely deficient’ (McCosker and Winks 1994). In growing cattle, P supplementation is most effective during the wet season when the pasture diet has adequate protein and energy (Winks 1990; Winter 1990; McCosker and Winks 1994; Jackson et al. 2012). While this is also generally true for reproducing breeders, breeders can mobilise P in body reserves, especially in bone, during pregnancy and lactation during dietary P deficiency and then replenish this P later in the annual cycle (Anderson et al. 2017; Dixon et al. 2017). This mechanism allows the reproducing breeder to benefit from P supplements fed during the dry season and provides a strategy for northern beef cattle production systems to address P deficiency even where it is not possible to feed P supplements during the wet season.
Human habitation of the Top End registers in deep time. Aboriginal people have lived, adapted to and modified this region for at least 50, 000 years. Until the early twentieth century the Arafura and Timor Seas, and the Gulf of Carpentaria, which collectively embrace the Northern Territory coast, were a conduit to the outside world. These waters facilitated contact, they did not isolate. Debate still ensues about exactly when Macassans from the Celebes first came to these coasts seeking trepang or sea-cucumber. Nevertheless, they began their annual periodic sojourns at least decades before Phillip established the colony on the shores of Port Jackson.35 They did not settle permanently but they spent considerable time on Top End shores and interacted, sometimes closely, with Aboriginal groups such as the Yolngu. Asia has had a longer presence in far northernAustralia than Europe has had in the south. Following the establishment of a permanent British colony on the north coast Chinese labourers were imported to develop Darwin and its hinterland. More came with a gold rush at Pine Creek and many Japanese came with the advent of the Pearling Industry. Both Regina Ganter’s Mixed Relations and Peta Stephenson’s The Outsiders Within detail the rich polyglot tapestry that was Darwin and to an extent Pine Creek and Katherine during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.36 As Henry Reynolds’ North of Capricorn shows, every northern town from Mackay around to Roebourne (WA) was similarly multi-racial before the advent of white Australia.37 Indeed both Darwin and Katherine have been multi-racial since the 1870s and withstood the onslaught designed to legislate non-white Australia out of existence by, in the words of Henry Reynolds, a ‘new nation obsessed with ideas of blood, biology and racial purity’.38 Nevertheless, with legislation to forbid Macassan trepangers visiting north Australia contact ceased in 1906; the seas became a barrier as governments in the south imposed isolation on Australia’s north.
spaces in which different systems and values for northernAustralia are being negotiated: big development, big conservation and policies for Indigenous wellbeing. Tensions within, and between, these three themes constitute the major challenges facing the governance of the future development of northernAustralia. Whilst the vision for the north might appear relatively simple and logistically rational, grand historical failures of this vision alert us to the need to have an accurate analysis of and sensitivity to, existing local systems of governance, cultures and values. Pure neoliberalism and western governance systems tend to fragment those systems that are already ‘in-place’ undermining the capacity of governance to achieve sustainable outcomes. Without a more integrated and systemic mode of engagement to explicitly and openly negotiate the development of northernAustralia, we are likely to see a continued failure to undertake development (either big development of big conservation) in a sustainable way that produces real benefits to local communities. Running headfirst into a unilateral vision of the north could mean this new phase of northern development will end up leaving the north in a weaker position, across the economic, environmental and social spectrums. One of the key challenges global megatrends presents to governance in Australia, which the resurfacing trend of northern development highlights, is negotiating how these futures emerge from real, grounded day-to-day negotiations of values and material capacities.
integrating conservation and development, better suited to both the relatively low- productivity landscapes and the human societies particularly, the Indigenous societies. A number of proposed new solutions for supporting Indigenous and rural communities have emerged from this context, encapsulated in conceptual models including the hybrid, cultural, conservation and appropriate economies. This investigation had identified that the most suitable sustainability framework for NorthernAustralia that takes into account its unique culture and natural characteristics is a cultural and conservation economy, which:
4. In most commercial breeding herds across northernAustralia, calvings are not observed and ‘mothering-up’ of calves is not practiced. Therefore, the primary method of determining whether a pregnant female has reared a calf is assessment of her lactation status at the time of each round of weaning. To gain a better understanding of whether a study design involving examination of females at the first annual branding or weaning round and then again at the annual pregnancy diagnosis muster could reliably define the reproductive performance of females in the CashCow project, a small study of reproductive performance data from several Beef CRC III herds and from a large pastoral company herd was conducted (Appendix V). This study particularly focussed on defining the major possible reproductive pathways, and the outcome of each pathway. Because of the intensive monitoring conducted in the Beef CRC III herds, very accurate reproductive outcome data were available for analysis. Analysis of these data focused on estimating the probability of an observed pregnancy/lactation combination at two successive annual musters conditional on an observed calf fate. The study indicated that in 97% of all pregnant/dry to pregnant/wet transitions, the predominant pathway observed in the Beef CRC III herds (represented 44% of all defined pathways), resulted in the weaning of a calf. However, 14% of reproductive pathways were from pregnant/dry to pregnant/dry. This pathway was of particular interest and further analysis showed that 50% (n=124) of females that had this reproductive pathway experienced perinatal loss, 21% (n=52) experienced postnatal loss, 16% (n=39) aborted, 8% (n=20) lost a calf just before weaning, and 5% (n=11) reconceived and lost the calf. To further investigate this pathway, foetal/calf loss from pregnancy diagnosis to weaning was determined using survival-time analysis. The results of this analysis demonstrated that the majority of losses from pregnancy diagnosis to weaning occur during the first month after calving.
29 trimester of pregnancy (Micke et al., 2010), Camacho (2013) reported that during the period of feeding Simmental cows either adequate or deficient diets between days 30 and 140 of pregnancy, rate of blood flow to the gravid horn of the uterus did not differ. Although, all cows of Camacho (2013) were on adequate nutrition between days 140 and 198 of pregnancy (i.e., second trimester). During this period, there was an approximate 2 L/min increase in blood flow to the gravid horn of the uterus for cows on restricted nutrition earlier in pregnancy, compared to cows on adequate nutrition throughout the experiment. In the same study, nutrient restriction in the first trimester was associated with a linear decrease in body condition, where lower body condition remained into late gestation, compared to control cows (Camacho, 2013). Nutrition of the dam in late gestation has been shown to impact on birth weight, where calves for which late gestation coincided with pasture growth, were on average 1 kg heavier than calves born in the dry season (Fordyce et al., 1993). Similarly, in Bos taurus cows, compared to cows on high energy during late gestation, cows fed low energy diets had reduced calf birth weights, higher incidence of neonatal mortality and decreased weaning weights of calves without any increase in calving difficulty (Corah et al., 1975). The above studies indicate that birth weight is impacted by nutrition throughout gestation, where improved nutrition in the first trimester may provide some positive growth responses, though the greatest impacts of nutrition appear to occur during the second trimester. The apparent increase in efficiency during the second trimester of pregnancy may be a compensatory mechanism that may overcompensate if the cow is on poor nutrition in the first trimester, followed by improved nutrition in the second trimester. This is not surprising given the high rate of foetal growth during this period compared to the first and third trimesters (Eley et al., 1978). Due to seasonal rainfall patterns and therefore pasture quality (Norman, 1963, Robinson and Sageman, 1967, Holroyd et al., 1977, McIvor, 1981, Squires and Siebert, 1983, Coates, 2000) and herd management across northernAustralia (Bortolussi et al., 2005), many breeding herds are likely experiencing decreasing pasture quality as their pregnancies progress. Therefore, many breeding herds may be at high risk of nutritional deficiency during mid- and especially late-gestation and consequently at risk of producing low birth weight calves.
The large number of distinct VTs isolated from these four communities, with a total population of less than 2,000 (1), underscores the dynamics of GAS infection in the areas of high-level endemicity of NorthernAustralia. While individual VTs were rarely isolated continuously from these communities for periods longer than 4 to 6 months, their ability to dissem- inate to other communities, and in some cases reinfect the same community at a later date, indicates that these genotypes have the ability to endure for long periods of time among the numerous Aboriginal communities of northernAustralia. The large number of GAS VT genotypes also highlights potential antigenic diversity among GAS isolates that are present in these communities. If, as indicated by a recent report (10), immunity to GAS is strain specific and not M type specific, then in these Aboriginal communities recurrent GAS infection throughout childhood and adolescence, and even into adult- hood, would be common. This is observed in these communi- ties.
M ycobacterium ulcerans is a toxin-producing pathogen that causes Buruli ulcer (BU), a spectrum of clinical disease that includes ulcers (Fig. 1), nodules, plaques, edematous lesions, and osteomyelitis (20). Australia is the only developed country with significant local transmission of BU. Foci of infection have been described in tropical, far north Queensland (16) and the Capri- corn Coast region of central Queensland (6), with sporadic cases also reported from the Northern Territory (NT) (14), Western Australia (WA) (4), and New South Wales (NSW) (12). In tem- perate, coastal Victoria, where the disease is known as Bairnsdale ulcer, large clusters of cases have occurred on Phillip Island (19) and on the Mornington (10) and Bellarine (3, 11, 18) peninsulas. Compared to other mycobacteria, such as Mycobacterium tu- berculosis, there is little genetic diversity among isolates of M. ul- cerans. Nevertheless, variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) typing is an established method for differentiating M. ulcerans strains from broad geographic regions (2). Only two VNTR pro- files have been identified in Australian strains: the Victorian geno- type, which is characteristic of M. ulcerans strains from southern Australia (Victoria and NSW), and the Southeast Asian genotype, which is characteristic of M. ulcerans strains from northern Aus- tralia (Queensland, NT, and WA), Malaysia, and some strains from Papua New Guinea (2). Although nucleotide sequence dif- ferences within some VNTR loci have previously been identified that distinguish northern Australian, Malaysian, and Papua New Guinean isolates with the Southeast Asian genotype (1), no se- quence polymorphisms have yet been described that permit dis- crimination of M. ulcerans strains within northernAustralia.
In the absence of primary data for FRS, for convenience we relied principally on the widely applied BVT approach for valuation of ES at the ecosystem-scale. As illustrated in Table 1a,b, however, the application of values derived from available global or other regional assessments presents significant comparability issues (Richardson et al., 2015), and potentially impacts on the credibility of resultant valuations in policy contexts. We applied ecosystem- based values from the global TEEB database (Van der Ploeg and de Groot 2010; de Groot et al., 2012), which comprises 1310 ES estimates from >200 studies including only two pertinent studies from northernAustralia, and none relevant to Australian Indige- nous estate values (Table 1). We used median values for four broadly comparable ecosystem types from available global studies, and regionally derived mean values from the two Australian stud- ies. As illustrated in Table 1a,b, however, the ecosystem types derived from the TEEB database do not readily equate with those at FRS; for example, the extensive savanna woodlands at FRS over- lap only in part with the broader woodland category from the TEEB database, including one Australian study valuing ‘rangelands’ (Blackwell, 2006). Similarly, the species diverse wet tropics rain- forest from north Queensland (Curtis, 2004) or tropical forests from coastal areas (Blackwell, 2006) are not directly comparable with the small patches of relatively species-poor monsoon forest in our study area. To address this we thus discounted the mean value from both those studies by 50%. Mismatches between the TEEB ecosystem classification with our savanna system classifica- tion has obvious valuation implications. Despite such inconsisten- cies a recent ES assessment conducted for Cape York Peninsula, north-east Australia, applied a similar BVT approach as applied here based on the same underlying database for valuing woodlands amongst 10 other ecosystems (Preece et al., 2016).
(Glaphyromorphus nigricaudis, Eremiascincus pardalis and Furina ornata) occurred only in areas with closed canopies and high ground cover or litter. Conversely, at the other end of the vegetation spectrum, large bodied species with high heat tolerance (Ctenotus robustus, Diporiphora bilineata - this study, Demansia vestigiata, Pseudonaja textilis and Oxyuranus scutellatus - incidental records) occurred primarily in coastal grasslands that burn very frequently. These unique ecosystems represent ~6% of the study area, generally reflecting the spatial configuration of broad vegetation types in northernAustralia. It is likely that the most influential management interventions for maintaining gamma diversity will be focused on the ~6% of the landscape that holds the unique alpha diversity where the vegetation structure is significantly different from the broader landscape. While providing shelter and stability, threats to these areas pose significant contemporary and future threats to their geographically restricted fauna (Woinarski et al. 2011). Such areas have become degraded and less connected to each other in recent history (Whitehead et al. 2005). It is from studies of these unique areas that many of the examples used to illustrate the impact of fire on terrestrial flora (Russell-Smith et al. 2002), and vertebrate fauna, have emanated. Threatened species decline in semi-arid refugial plateaus (Perry et al. 2011a; Trainor 1996; Trainor et al. 2000) and invertebrate declines following changed fire regimes in rugged sandstone landscapes (Lowe 1995) are both examples of negative responses of fauna to fire in specialised communities but are not representative of the responses of the majority of savanna landscape fauna.
Over the last decade, Australia’s tropical north has featured front and centre in big national debates about the nation’s future. As in the past, the north has again been cast as the nation’s frontier saviour through bold new resource and agricultural developments, both real and imagined. Yet others have dreamt of the north’s expansive landscapes being secured as an iconic wilderness. Big human rights- centred debates have raged about the success or otherwise of Commonwealth, State and Territory interventions in Indigenous communities. Quick-draw policy responses on complex issues like the live cattle trade have had devastating impacts on the confidence of northern industries and communities. Finally, the daily media images of refugees heading to the coast keep the north’s strategic importance on centre-stage, raising unresolved tensions about relationships with our Asian-Pacific neighbours. With some exceptions, these national debates have played out across southern Australia’s media, policy-making and academic institutions and think-tanks; a debate largely crafted by, and for, a southern audience. For those of us in the north, it is forgivable to think that the south looks upon northernAustralia as one might look upon their own troubled child; a youngster on the precipice between adolescence and adulthood. There seems to be, on one level, that great hope and
Ariid and plotosid catﬁshes represent a large component of total ﬁsh biomass in many northern Australian rivers (Bishop et al., 2001; Jardine et al., 2012), and silver cobbler Neoarius midgleyorum forms the basis of Western Australia's only freshwater ﬁ n ﬁ sh ﬁ shery. Eel-tailed catﬁsh Tandanus tandanus is currently listed as Threatened in Victoria under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Department of Sustainability and Environment Victoria, 2005), and as Endangered in the Murray-Darling Basin in New South Wales (NSW) under the NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994 (Fisheries Scientiﬁc Committee, 2008). Freshwater cat ﬁ shes are often host to a highly diverse range of tissue parasites (Lymbery et al., 2010), however, no widespread study on the hematozoa of catﬁshes has been undertaken in Australia. Here, we re- port on the haematozoa of cat ﬁ shes sampled from freshwater systems in northernAustralia, and investigate the eﬀect of ﬁsh size and species on parasite prevalence.
This research was conducted on the traditional country of the Bininj and Mungguy people. We gratefully acknowledge the traditional custodians for allowing access to this country. We thank Peter Nichols, Peter Mansour, Grant Johnson, Mark Grubert, Duncan Buckle, Roy Tipiloura, Dominic Valdez, Francisco Zillamarin, Edward Butler, Claire Streten, Diane Purcell, Kirsty McAllister and the crew of R.V. Solander for fieldwork and laboratory assistance and to Martin Lysy (nicheROVER) and Andrew Jackson (SIAR) for their advice and assistance. Charles Darwin University, CSIRO and the North Australia Marine Research Alliance (NAMRA) provided funding, alongside collaborative partnerships in the ǯ National Environmental Research Program (NERP). This study was conducted with the approval of the Charles Darwin University Animal Ethics Committee (A12016), in conjunction with permits from NT Fisheries and Kakadu National Park (RK805). Finally, we thank four anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.