In December 2005, Girringun Traditional Owners made history by signing the first ever Traditional Use of Marine Resource Agreement (TUMRA) agreement in Australia.
Traditional Use of Marine
TUMRA is a commitment to the management of the traditional hunting of protected species in the greater Hinchinbrook Island area. This agreement was subsequently accredited by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
Implementation is led by the Girringun TUMRA Steering Committee, who have established a formal agreement between Saltwater Traditional Owners, GBRMPA and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) on how collectively Traditional Owners manage the cultural take of turtles and dugong.
In the interests of the conservation of, and sustainability of traditional hunting for dugong and the various marine turtle species, Girringun community members agreed to a limited take of marine turtles and dugongs with hunting being limited to specified hunting areas.
Girringun has become involved in the research efforts to gather data on the habitat areas, including the locations, extent and monitoring of seagrass beds, sea grass species, and the numbers and general locations of turtles and dugongs, particularly within the dugong protection area (DPA) around Hinchinbrook and Goold Islands.
Girringun Rangers along with QPWS Rangers and other stakeholders received training by Dr. Jane Mellors in sea grass monitoring methods at Goold Island. Training included species identification, survey design and data interpretation. Each ranger group (Ingham Cardwell and Innisfail) have been supplied with their own sea grass survey kits.
The data to date is being kept with
Seagrass Watch for wider use.
Further training on turtle ecology was conducted at Mon Repos with Dr. Col Limpus. Through this two people from the Girringun area were invited to participate in a two week trip to Milman Island off northern Cape York as research assistants. Through this trip one of the Girringun participants found further employment.
Training opportunities have required attendees to present to DERM staff, Girringun corporation staff and associates and also present at Hinchinbrook and Mission Beach LMAC meetings. These meetings have been attended by stakeholder groups such as DPIF and GBRMPA.
Girringun Aboriginal Corporation efficiently communicates TUMRA issues and arrangements with stakeholders at the Girringun Steering Committee meeting. This provided a formalised avenue for local user groups and regulatory bodies to discuss resource management issues for the local region. Since the inception of the first Girringun TUMRA Agreement, Saltwater Traditional Owners from the Girringun Region have now entered into their fourth accredited TUMRA Agreement.
Cindy-Lou Togo, Sea Ranger, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation; Whitney Rassip, Girringun Traditional Use of Marine Resource Agreement coordinator; and Dr Isabel Beasley, Researcher, James Cook University speak about partnership between Traditional Owners and scientists to monitor species along the Great Barrier Reef to track the health of the ecosystem.
For more information, go to www.environment.gov.au/gbr
Tracking Sarah Murri
In September 2009 Girringun participated in a “turtle rodeo” along with Traditional Owners from Gudjada and Giru Dala. This trip included training in the capture of turtles for tagging, in shallow water using boats. One turtle, named Sarah Murri, had a satellite tracking tag attached to her back to track her movements over time. Her tag data is available for public viewing on www.seaturtle.org.
Save Our Waterways
As land and sea defenders we all play a part in keeping our waterways safe. When travelling to Girringun Country remember to be aware of your impact on the environment and make sustainable decisions.
Always remember to
Respect marine animals and their wild spaces
Take photos and selfies at a safe distance away from animals
Clean up after yourself when visiting beaches and natural spaces
Support the work of our rangers and local communities in their protection of Girringun Country.