Since time immemorial, Traditional Owners have interwoven their culture and spirituality with the Great Barrier Reef (the Reef).
The Marine Park Authority and Traditional Owners are working together to integrate modern marine park management and traditional knowledge to protect this irreplaceable iconic World Heritage Area.
A major partnership over the past decade has been through the Indigenous Land and Sea Country Partnerships Program, a $20 million investment in Traditional Owner management of the Reef.
The program provided resourcing to support the development and implementation of Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements (TUMRAs).
Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements are community-based plans for management of traditional resources which are accredited in legislation and have proved a successful mechanism for joint management of the Reef.
Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements describe how Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owner groups work in partnership with the Australian and Queensland governments to manage traditional use activities on their Sea Country.
Each Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements has a committee to manage the agreement and traditional use of marine resources in their Sea Country, including traditional take, if any of important species such as dugongs and turtles. Their management of traditional use is based on both cultural lore and contemporary science and are also used for broader Sea Country planning and management.
In the past 10 years, the area of Sea Country covered by Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements has successfully doubled with the joint partnerships building a level of trust and knowledge previously unprecedented on the Reef.
The number of Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements has increased from four to 10 — plus an Indigenous Land Use Agreement — covering 18 Traditional Owner groups.
Today, more than 43 per cent of the Marine Park coastline is managed under a these agreements.
Significantly, the program has strengthened partnerships between Traditional Owners and government, with some using their Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement to encourage external partnerships and investment.
The program is a major contributor to the outcomes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Strategy for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which sets out how the Authority will work with Traditional Owners to keep Indigenous heritage strong, safe and healthy.
We look forward to the next decade and beyond of increasing co-management, as we deepen our relationships with Traditional Owners to keep Sea Country strong, safe and healthy.
Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements
The Wuthathi people are the Traditional Owners for the Shelburne Bay area of Cape York Peninsula and their Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement, accredited in June 2008, covers their traditional sea country area out to the eastern edge of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and encompasses Raine Island.
The Wuthathi Traditional Owners have a clear vision for managing their sea country and their agreement forms an integral part of this as they work toward developing a new agreement for 2020 and beyond.
View map of Wuthathi Traditional Use of Marine Resources region.
For more information visit Wuthathi Aboriginal Corporation website.
The Lama Lama Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement covers sea country that extends through Princess Charlotte Bay to the Normanby River in the south.
Accredited in August 2013, the agreement supports compliance activities, research and education, and a junior rangers program. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority staff also delivers compliance training to Lama Lama rangers to help minimise illegal take of marine resources.
Through the Yintjingga Aboriginal Corporation, the Lama Lama Traditional Owners already coordinate a ranger program and jointly manage the Lama Lama National Park and Marrpa Islands National Park with the Queensland Government. The Lama Lama Traditional Owners have developed an agreement that will meet their aspirations for managing sea country.
The agreement will result in opportunities to learn new skills and offer eployment and economic development for people in the region.
View map of Lama Lama Traditional Use of Marine Resources region.
For more information visit Yintjingga Aboriginal Corporation Facebook page.
The Archer Point area, the Traditional land of the Yuku-Baja-Muliku people, borders the Wet Tropics rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The Yuku-Baja-Muliku Traditional Owners operate a turtle rescue and rehabilitation centre at Archer Point and run a comprehensive ranger program that undertakes a wide range of land and sea management initiatives.
Rangers identify and monitor seagrass beds, develop visitor infrastructure, and manage pests, weeds and fire.
The Yuku-Baja-Muliku people also carry out cultural heritage management of story places, sacred sites, rock shelters and fish traps.
The Yuku-Baja-Muliku Regional Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement was accredited in August 2013 and covers 1088 square kilometres stretching from Monkhouse Point south to Forsberg Point and extending east to just past the Ribbon Reefs.
It’s an environmentally significant region rich in biodiversity. The agreement stipulates that turtle and dugong cannot be hunted outside of the Traditional Owners’ permit management system.
View map of Yuku-Baja-Muliku Traditional Use of Marine Resources region
Visit the Yuku-Baja-Muliku website or Yuku-Baja-Muliku Landowners & Reserves Ltd Facebook page for more information about the traditional custodians of Archer Point.
Yirrganydji Traditional Owners are the saltwater people of the Yirrgay dialect, spoken along the coast from Cairns to Port Douglas in North Queensland. The Yirrganydji Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement was accredited in April 2014. It covers an area of sea country between Cairns and Port Douglas that extends far offshore to include outer reefs and islands “to where the sun rises on the horizon”.
The Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement provides the ability to isolate illegal activities that are occurring in the marine park from the care, traditional use and harvest of marine resources by the Yirrganydji people, the Traditional Owners of that area.
Visit the Dawul Wuru website for more information about the Yirrganydji agreement or their species monitoring, communication and education programs.
The Gunggandji traditional land and sea country estate includes the coastal land and waters immediately to the east of Cairns. The Gunggandji Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement covers three key areas: Green Island, Michaelmas Cay, Fitzroy Island, and the surrounding waters. Michaelmas Cay and the adjoining reef is a shared resource for Gunggandji and Yirrganydji peoples, which is managed under joint partnerships.
Under the Gunggandji Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement no hunting of turtle or dugong will be allowed in these areas. Through its dedicated Indigenous Compliance program, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will provide compliance assistance to Gunggandji Traditional Owners to implement the agreement.
The Australian and State governments accredited the Gunggandji Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement on 28 June 2016 for a five-year period.
For further information contact the Gunggandji PBC Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC.
Mandubarra Sea Country extends from Mourilyan Harbour to Maria Creek on the Cassowary Coast and includes the Barnard Islands and the area adjacent to Kurrimine Beach.
The Mandubarra Traditional Owners are committed to caring for Country and to pass on knowledge and culture. The following three documents provide advice on key cultural values and share a special message for all visitors to enjoy, respect and care for Country when visiting:
- Mandubarra Sea Country Cultural Values
- Reef walking Kurramine beach
With a proud heritage and breathtaking scenery, the Mandubarra people have a unique patch with a complex range of challenges. For example, being adjacent to urbanised areas of the GBR, Mandubarra Traditional Owners have commercial and tourism-based interests operating in Sea Country.
In recognising this challenge, The Traditional Owners have implemented a moratorium on traditional hunting of turtles and dugong, developed a Junior Ranger program as well as a turtle nesting monitoring program whereby the Mandubarra Traditional Owners and the community collaboratively work to care for sea country.
Mandubarra’s TUMRA was accredited in April 2018 for a duration of 10 years. They hope to grow Traditional Owner involvement in the management of the Great Barrier Reef.
Contact Mandubarra Land and Sea Inc. through their Facebook page for more information.
The Girringun region Traditional Owners were the first Traditional Owners in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to develop an accredited Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement.
The six Girringun Aboriginal Corporation sea country groups endorsed the agreement: Djiru, Gulnay, Girramay, Bandjin, Warragamay and Nywaigi.
The Girringun Aboriginal Corporation has now developed its fourth agreement, which the Australian and Queensland governments accredited in November 2019.
This agreement builds upon their first (2005), second (2008) and third (2010) agreements. It applies to sea country between Rollingstone in the south and north to Mission Beach and extends east of Hinchinbrook Island to the outer Great Barrier Reef.
For more information visit Girringun Aboriginal Corporation Facebook page.
The Darumbal Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement (TUMRA) was accredited in December 2021, for a duration of 15 years and covers an area of approximately 36,606km2 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and excludes the Woppaburra Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement area (as depicted on the Darumbal map).
The northern boundary extends from Broad Sound to the Fitzroy River in the south, adjoining the Port Curtis Coral Coast Regional Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement and includes all lands and island, important tourism sites and several Marine National Parks, a Preservation Park zone and Conversation Park zones.
For more information, visit the Darumbal People Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC website about their Traditional Use of Marine Resources in sea country, including important species such as dugongs and turtles. Management of traditional use is based on both cultural lore, custom and practice and contemporary science and are also used for broader sea country planning and management.
The Woppaburra people are implementing their third Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement for their traditional country, which includes the Keppel Islands and surrounding sea country. It covers 561 square kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and was the first offshore agreement of its kind.
The Woppaburra agreement took effect on 30 June 2014 and will run for 10 years. It was the first such agreement accredited for 10 years, a period which has become a standard for all new Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements accredited by the Australian and Queensland governments.
Under the agreement the Woppaburra people will continue to develop and implement important sea country management initiatives in partnership with marine management agencies and other organisations. This includes working with scientists and researchers, managing traditional hunting protocols, monitoring of plants and animals and compliance training.
View map of the Woppaburra Traditional Use of Marine Resources region.
First accredited in August 2011, the Port Curtis Coral Coast Regional Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement was reaccredited in April 2019 and will run for 10 years. It is largest agreement of its kind and covers an area almost 10 times the size of the Australian Capital Territory or 26,386 square kilometres.
The agreement area extends from Burrum Heads, south of Bundaberg, north to and including the waters around Curtis Island off Gladstone.
Under the agreement, Port Curtis Coral Coast Traditional Owner groups, which include Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, Byellee and Taribelang Bunda, are committed to initiating management strategies that will positively impact their sea country.
Indigenous Land Use Agreements are agreements about the use and management of land and waters that are made between one or more native title groups and other people or parties.
The Australian Government through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is a party to the Kuuku Ya'u People's Indigenous Land Use Agreement, with implementation managed in the same way as a Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement.
The Kuuku Ya'u agreement off Cape York Peninsula is the first such agreement in the Marine Park and runs from Olive River in the north and south to just beyond Lockhart River.
It recognises Traditional Owner native title rights and interests in the management of nearly 2000 square kilometres of sea country out to the Great Barrier Reef.