Michelle VOYER


Position: Vice-Chancellors Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Phone: +61 (0) 2 4221 4653
Office: UOW Innovation Campus, ITAMS Building 233, Room 107
Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong, NSW, 2522, Australia


Michelle joined ANCORS in 2016 as a Vice Chancellors Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. Before joining ANCORS she had worked with the University of Technology Sydney on research into the social and economic contributions of commercial fishing to NSW communities. She has worked on marine conservation issues for over 15 years firstly in NSW and Queensland State Government Departments, where she was employed in a number of roles relating to protected area and threatened species management as well as coastal planning and assessment. In 2014 she completed her PhD examining the social acceptability of marine protected areas, with a focus on two NSW marine parks. Since then she has been engaged in a range of projects investigating the human dimensions of marine conservation and resource management, including commercial and recreational fisheries. Her current research with ANCORS is a cross disciplinary investigation into social equity considerations in the Blue Economy.

Research interests:

Human dimensions of marine conservation and resource management.

Current research projects:

Advancing the Blue Economy: Social and equity dimensions (Post doctoral research project):

The Blue Economy model is built around the principles of ‘triple bottom line’ decision making. This approach requires consideration of social, economic and environmental factors in an integrated way. Michelle’s post doctoral project critically appraises the competing discourses surrounding the Blue economy, and the ways in which social and equity dimensions are currently considered within these competing discourses. In particular she is examining the role of civil society in the governance and ‘operationalisation’ of the Blue Economy concept. This includes an examination of the potential role that concepts such as ‘Social License to operate’ may play in an increasingly privatised ocean.

Laying the foundations for a Southern NSW Blue Economy

This UOW Global Challenges project consists of five cross disciplinary project teams, made up of more than 25 UOW researchers in total, from across all five UOW faculties. This project’s aims to ‘take stock’ of the existing state of play in relation to Blue Economy opportunities in Southern NSW focusing on five key areas: ocean accounts, spatial mapping, social and cultural values, the governing system and innovation. The project is a UN Ocean Accounts Pilot Project through the UN ESCAP.

Sun, Sand, Sea and Sustainability (S4)

This project is an additional ‘nested’ project falling underneath the broader Blue Economy banner. In partnership with Shoalhaven City Council, this project is specifically focused on addressing the challenges of strategic planning in relation to sustainable marine tourism.

Transmedia Narratives: The Southern NSW Blue Economy

This is another ‘nested’ project under the Blue economy umbrella and engages with the arts and humanities community of scholars to explore narratives and visual representations of a Blue Economy’.

Illawarra and South Coast Maritime Industries- past, present and future

This project, now in its final stages, considered the influence of historical uses of coasts and oceans in the region on a future Blue Economy. 

Potential topics for HDR & Honours Supervision:

  • Projects relating to the application of social sciences in the field of marine conservation and management.
  • Projects which wish to investigate how social values/beliefs might influence conservation or resource management outcomes.

Recent awards and fellowships:

Vice Chancellors Post-doctoral Research Fellowships (2016)

Professional memberships:

  • Australian Marine Sciences Association
  • International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade
  • Earth Systems Governance - Oceans Taskforce: Blue Economy cluster leader

Competitive research funding:

  • 2018-19 UOW Global Challenges project funding: Laying the Foundations for a Southern Blue Economy – Principal Investigator, incorporating:
    • Sun, Sand, Sea and Sustainability (S4), and
    • Transmedia Narratives: The Southern NSW Blue Economy
  • 2018 Fisheries Queensland: Provision of Strategies and Methods to Improve Fisheries Queensland’s Effectiveness at Engaging with Commercial Stakeholders. Co-investigator
  • 2017 UOW Global Challenges seed funding: Maritime Industries - past present and future. Co-investigator
  • FRDC2014/301 – Co-Investigator: Social and Economic Evaluation of NSW Coastal Commercial Wild-Catch Fisheries (Fisheries Research and Development Corporation)
  • FRDC2015/302 – Co-Investigator: Social and Economic Evaluation of NSW Coastal Aquaculture (Fisheries Research and Development Corporation)
  • Co-investigator: Motivations and attitudes of recreational fishers (NSW Recreational Fishing Trust).

Recent Publications:

Kenchington, R & Voyer, M (in press) Marine Protected Areas in a Blue Economy – Challenges for Oceans Policy. Australian Environment Review

Voyer, M & Gladstone,W., Human social considerations in the use of marine protected areas for biodiversity conservation (in press), Australian Zoologist DOI:

Gollan, N., Voyer, M., Jordan, A., Barclay, K. (2019) Maximising community wellbeing: Assessing the threats to the benefits communities derive from the marine estate Ocean and Coastal Management 168, pp. 12-21

Voyer, M., Quirk, G., McIlgorm, A., Azmi, K. (2018) Shades of blue: what do competing interpretations of the Blue Economy mean for oceans governance? Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 20(5), pp. 595-616.

Voyer, M., Schofield, C. H., Azmi, K., Warner, R., McIlgorm, A., & Quirk, G. (2018). Maritime security and the Blue Economy: intersections and interdependencies in the Indian Ocean. Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, 14 (1), pp. 28-48.

Magee, C., Voyer, M., McIlgorm, A., & Li, O. (2018). Chasing the thrill or just passing the time? Trialing a new mixed methods approach to understanding heterogeneity amongst recreational fishers based on motivations. Fisheries Research, 199, pp. 107-118.

Voyer, M., Barclay, K., McIlgorm, A., & Mazur, N. (2017). Using a well-being approach to develop a framework for an integrated socio-economic evaluation of professional fishing. Fish and Fisheries, 18(6), pp. 1134-1149.

Voyer, M., Barclay, K., Mcilgorm, A. & Mazur, N. 2017. Connections or conflict? A social and economic analysis of the interconnections between the professional fishing industry, recreational fishing and marine tourism in coastal communities in NSW, Australia. Marine Policy, 76, 114-121.

Barclay, K., Voyer, M., Mazur, N., Payne, A. M., Mauli, S., Kinch, J., Fabinyi, M. & Smith, G. 2017. The importance of qualitative social research for effective fisheries management. Fisheries Research, 186, Part 2, 426-438.

Voyer, M., Barclay, K., Mcilgorm, A. & Mazur, N. 2016. Social and Economic Evaluation of NSW Coastal Professional Wild-Catch Fisheries: Valuing Coastal Fisheries (FRDC 2014-301). Technical Report. Canberra, Australia: Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

McIlgorm, A., M.A. Voyer, C. Magee, J. Pepperell, E. O’Toole and O. Li .2016. Improving our understanding of the motivations and attitudes towards fisheries management of recreational fishers in NSW. Report to New South Wales Department of Primary Industry Recreational Fishing Trusts. Link to PDF.

Voyer, M., N. Gollan, K. Barclay, and W. Gladstone. 2015. ‘It’s part of me’; understanding the values, images and principles of coastal users and their influence on the social acceptability of MPAs. Marine Policy 52:93-102.

Voyer, M., W. Gladstone, and H. Goodall. 2015. Obtaining a social licence for MPAs – influences on social acceptability. Marine Policy 51:260-266.

Gill, N., Osman P., Head, L., Voyer, M., Waitt, G., Gibson, C. Harada, T. (2015) Looking Beyond Installation: Why households struggle to make the most of solar hot water systems, Energy Policy, 87, 83-94. DOI:10.1016/j.enpol.2015.08.038 – Open Access. ISI 14/100, Environmental Studies; 34/88 Energy and Fuels, IF2.575.

Voyer, M., W. Gladstone, and H. Goodall. 2014. Understanding marine park opposition: the relationship between social impacts, environmental knowledge and motivation to fish. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 24:441-462.

Dreher, T., and M. Voyer. 2014. Climate Refugees or Migrants? Contesting Media Frames on Climate Justice in the Pacific. Environmental Communication 9:58-76.

Voyer, M., T. Dreher, W. Gladstone, and H. Goodall. 2013. Who cares wins: The role of local news and news sources in influencing community responses to marine protected areas. Ocean & Coastal Management 85, Part A:29-38.

Voyer, M., T. Dreher, W. Gladstone, and H. Goodall. 2013a. Carving the stake: dodgy science or global necessity? Local media reporting of marine S. Cottle, editor. Environmental Conflict and the Media. Peter Lang, New York.

Voyer, M., W. Gladstone, and H. Goodall. 2012. Methods of social assessment in Marine Protected Area planning: Is public participation enough? Marine Policy 36:432-439.




Last reviewed: 8 January, 2019