Woppaburra people celebrate sea country agreement

Published: 04/07/2014

Woppaburra Traditional Owners will celebrate their third Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement at a festival on North Keppel Island, off Yeppoon, tomorrow (5 July 2014).

Their new agreement runs for 10 years, making it the longest such agreement to be accredited by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Government.

It covers a 561 square kilometre offshore area that includes the Keppel islands, off Yeppoon, and outlines a formal process for how Woppaburra people will manage their sea country and their traditional use of marine resources.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said the voluntary agreement recognised the valuable relationship between Woppaburra people and the Australian and Queensland governments.

“It ensures Woppaburra people are actively involved in managing their sea country in partnership with the Australian and Queensland governments,” he said.

“It also ensures management agencies acknowledge the traditional lores and customs Woppaburra people maintain through their continued connection, use and care for their sea country areas.”

Under the agreement the Woppaburra people have demonstrated the importance of sustainably managing their traditional marine resources and have limited the take of culturally important species such as turtle and dugong.

In line with this, the Woppaburra people have declared a moratorium on the take of dugong for the life of this

Environment Minister Greg Hunt congratulated the Woppaburra Traditional Owners on their new agreement.

“The Woppaburra people should be congratulated for their work towards ensuring the protection of turtle and dugongs, alongside valuable cultural conservation practices on the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

Dr Reichelt said the Woppaburra people established their first Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement in 2007, and were one of the first Traditional Owner groups along the Great Barrier Reef coast to do so.

There are seven Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements and one Indigenous Land Use Agreement now in operation along the Great Barrier Reef coast. They cover a total of 45,207 square kilometres of sea country and involve 16 Traditional Owner groups.

The Woppaburra agreement is being implemented with support from the Australian Government’s Land and Sea Country Indigenous Partnerships Program, administered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

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