Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements

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.

These formal agreements are developed by Traditional Owner groups and accredited by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. Each agreement operates for a set time after which it is renegotiated.

An agreement may describe how Traditional Owner groups wish to manage their take of natural resources (including protected species), their role in compliance, their role in monitoring the condition of plants and animals, and human activities in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement implementation plan may describe ways to educate the public about traditional connections to sea country areas, and ways to educate other members of a Traditional Owner group about the conditions of the agreement.

Existing agreements

Gunggandji agreement

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 Commonwealth 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.

View map of Gunggandji Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement region

Woppaburra agreement

The Woppaburra people are implementing the 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 is the only offshore agreement of its kind.

The Woppaburra agreement took effect on 30 June 2014 and will run for 10 years, making it the longest such agreement to be accredited by the Australian and Queensland governments.

Under the agreement Woppaburra people will continue to develop and implement important sea country management initiatives in partnership with marine management agencies. This includes exchanging knowledge with scientists, managing traditional hunting protocols, doing seagrass monitoring and participating in compliance training.

For more information about the Woppaburra agreement or their sea country culture visit the We Are Woppaburra website.

View map of the Woppaburra Traditional Use of Marine Resources region

Yirrganydji agreement

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 for a five-year period. 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.

View map of Yirrganydji Traditional Use of Marine Resources region

Lama Lama agreement

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 five-year agreement, outlines compliance activities, research and education, and a junior rangers program. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority staff will deliver 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 employment and economic development for people in the region.

View map of Lama Lama Traditional Use of Marine Resources region

Yuku-Baja-Muliku agreement

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.

Girringun agreement

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 third agreement, which the Australian and Queensland governments accredited in December 2010. This agreement builds upon their first (2005) and second (2008) agreements and applies to sea country between Rollingstone and Mission Beach.

View map of Girringun Traditional Use of Marine Resources region

Wuthathi agreement

The Wuthathi people are the Traditional Owners for the Shelburne Bay area of Cape York and their Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement, accredited in June 2008, covers their traditional sea country area. The Wuthathi Traditional Owners have a clear vision for managing their sea country and their agreement forms an integral part of this.

View map of Wuthathi Traditional Use of Marine Resources region

Port Curtis Coral Coast agreement

Accredited in August 2011, the Port Curtis Coral Coast Regional Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement is the fifth and largest agreement of its kind. It 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, to and including Curtis Island off Gladstone.

Under the agreement, Port Curtis Coral Coast Traditional Owner groups, which include Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, Bailai and Tarebilang Bunda, are committed to initiating management strategies that will positively impact their sea country.

View map of Port Curtis Coral Coast Traditional Use of Marine Resources region

Visit the Gidarjil Development Corporation website for more information on the Port Curtis Coral Coast agreement.

Indigenous Land Use Agreements

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 is the first such agreement in the Marine Park. It recognises Traditional Owner native title rights and interests in the management of nearly 2000 square kilometres of sea within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, in an area north of Lockhart River.