The Mabo [no. 2] 1992 High Court decision and subsequent judicial decisions indicate a quantum shift in the
recognising the rights of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders to their sea estates ‘as far as the eye can see’. These
ongoing changes create a circumstance in which the transfer and trade in rights to fish resources between Indigenous and
non-Indigenous people can be mutually beneficial and the requirement to be able to access damage, loss or diminution of
The paper provides a means by which compensation for the diminution or loss of native title rights might be estimated on
the basis of the opportunity cost of time. Insights are provided into the economic characteristics of the benefits obtained
from native title rights and how such rights will affect a community’s budget and the choices available. In particular, the
paper shows that, because of the particular relationship Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities have with their estate,
and the inclusive nature of community management of the estate, behavioural based methodologies may be applied to the
valuation of native title rights to non-use cultural values. While it is clear that additional work is required in the application
of economic methodologies to valuing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, what is offered here will
broaden the scope of this work.
Campbell, D. Valuation of Indigenous Rights to the Sea Estate. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults:Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute ofFisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. InternationalInstitute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.