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Sea country recognition celebrates traditional resource use

Gavin Singleton

Gavin Singleton
Gavin Singleton at the Yirrganydji Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement launch.
7 May 2015

Yirrganydji Traditional Owner Gavin Singleton was part of the group that developed the first Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement between the Australian and Queensland Government and north Queensland’s Yirrganydji people.

Under the agreement, traditional marine resources are sustainably used to make sure they will still be available for future generations. As a result, traditional use of marine resources, such as turtles and dugongs, and valuable cultural practices, can now coexist with the conservation and management of the Great Barrier Reef.

Gavin said the agreement was an important acknowledgement of his people’s culture and ongoing connections to sea country.

“The Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement gave us a voice for sea country, a sense of empowerment, healing, identity, pride and well-being by simply coming together and being on sea country.”

“By continuing our culture, traditions and customary activities, the traditional terrestrial and marine resources will be preserved for all our future generations,” he said.

The agreement shows the Yirrganydji people’s commitment to the management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage and their ongoing connection to sea country.

"It’s brought recognition to Yirrganydji people from both the Queensland and Australian governments to continue traditional activities, cultural authority and connection to the Great Barrier Reef.”

Gavin said the community actively participated in sea country activities and were looking forward to working on more projects.

“The Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement definitely assisted in developing Yirrganydji peoples’ governance, capacity and capabilities for future projects and activities.

Find out more

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.

Find out more about Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s website. 

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