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Girringun Traditional Use Marine Resource Agreement (TUMRA)

Category: Agreement
Date: 1 November 2019
Sub Category:Traditional Use Marine Resource Agreement (TUMRA)
Place:Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
State/Country:Queensland, Australia
The agreement area extends from Cardwell, south to Rollingstone, north to Mission Beach, east to Hinchinbrook to the outer Great Barrier Reef. The area covers approx 25,000 square km of land and sea country between the nine Traditional Owner groups.
Legal Status:

This TUMRA has been accredited by the Marine Park Authority in line with criteria in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983 (Reg. 10).

Alternative Names:
  • Girringun Traditional Use Marine Resource Agreement (TUMRA)
  • Girringun Traditional Use Marine Resource Agreement
  • Girringun TUMRA
  • Subject Matter:Collaboration / Partnership | Cultural Heritage | Environmental Heritage | Fishing | Marine | Recognition of Native Title or Traditional Ownership | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests
    URL: http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/our-partners/traditional-owners/traditional-use-of-marine-resources-agreements
    Summary Information:

    The Girringun Traditional Use Marine Resources Agreement (Girringun TUMRA) was agreed under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (The Act) between the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation (RNTBC), the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency and the Australian and Queensland Government. The Girringun Aboriginal Corporation as the prescribed body corporate, acts as an agent for the Girringun Governing Council and Traditional Owners, in negotiations regarding native title, cultural heritage, land and sea interests. Girringun represents nine Traditional Owner groups:

    • Nywaigi
    • Gugu Badhan
    • Warrgamay
    • Warungnu
    • Bandjin
    • Girramay
    • Gulnay
    • Jirrbal, and
    • Djiru

    A TUMRA is 'an agreement, developed in accordance with the regulations, by a traditional owner group, for the traditional use of marine resources in a site or area of the Marine Park' (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003). The Girringun people were the first Traditional Owners in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to develop an accredited Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement (TUMRA).

    The Girringun Traditional Use Marine Resource Agreement (TUMRA) was originally signed in December 2005 following two years of discussions between the Girringun people and the GBRMPA. The agreement covers a large section of the Great Barrier Reef and adjacent waters in the vicinity of Cardwell (between Townsville and Cairns). The terms of the TUMRA were developed by the Girringun Traditional Owners. Six of the Traditional Owner groups were directly involved in drafting the agreement, with two representatives from each group participating in debates and meetings to ensure each of their interests were represented (Department of Environment and Heritage, 1994, 6). The TUMRA was then subject to an accreditation process with the GBRMPA and the Queensland Environment Protection Agency, negotiated on behalf of the Traditional Owners by Girringun Aboriginal Corporation Inc.. 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 in TUMRA agreement 2005, second TUMRA agreement in 2008 and third TUMRA agreement in 2010.

    The Girringun TUMRA promotes the sustainability of marine animals and resources within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, against threats such as coastal development, habitat degradation, netting, sedimentation, pollution and tourism. The aim of the agreement is to protect the natural qualities of the Great Barrier Reef while providing for reasonable use of the reef region, and minimising regulation of, and interference in, human activities. The agreement also supports Traditional Owners in maintaining their cultural connections with the sea country while ensuring their traditional activities are sustainable.

    The Girringun TUMRA has a 'Steering Committee' of Traditional Owners to manage the programs and regulations of the agreement.

    Detailed Information:

    TUMRA Background:

    For traditional owners, the spiritual relationship with country has been likened to that with a member of the family: to be loved, nurtured, cared for and above all, respected (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2007, 3). The activities associated with the traditional use of marine resources have great significance and express the continuance of long cultural traditions.

    Traditional Use Marine Resource Agreements (TUMRAs) are a new type of legal instrument that describes how Traditional Owner groups wish to manage the traditional use of marine resources (Department of Environment and Heritage, 2004, 3).

    The Indigenous Land and Sea Country Partnerships Program is a $20 million investment in Traditional Owner management of the Great Barrier Reef. The program was created to provide resources and funds for the development and implementation of Traditional Use Marine Resource Agreements, such as the Girringun TUMRA. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 established a new framework where GBRMPA and traditional owners segregate different areas or 'zones' of sea country so they can be utilised for specific purposes. The new framework compliments existing community-based measures developed by Traditional Owner Groups to protect marine life while ensuring entitlements enshrined in the Native Title Act 1993 are recognised. The new framework replaces old Zoning Plans and gives more power to traditional owners in managing the reef's resources (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2007, 5).
    Under the previous regulatory management approach, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people needed to apply for permits to undertake traditional activities like fishing, collecting and hunting in the Marine Park (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2007, 6).
    In discussing the creation of the Girringun TUMRA, Traditional Owners advised they wanted to alter the permit system for traditional activities, by developing their own community-based management regulation plans for traditional activities and conservation.

    As part of the new framework, only 'traditional owners' can undertake traditional use of marine resources. The Act includes various provisions that impose penalties for individuals who breach zones and management procedures.

    Details of the Agreement:

    The Girringun Traditional Owners and GBRMPA are working together to integrate modern marine management and traditional knowledge to ensure sustainability of the environment, while preserving traditional customs and connection to sea country.

    The Girringun people from the nine Traditional Owner groups undertake traditional use of marine resource activities to:

    • educate younger generations about traditional rules, protocols, practices and activities regarding custom on sea country
    • practice their living maritime culture
    • fish and collect resources to feed their families
    • express traditional activities such as hunting dugong and turtles are are not 'as of right'

    The aim of the TUMRA is to minimise the hunting of dugong and green turtles within the agreement area. The agreement area is divided into eight zones, each designed to obtain and preserve a different goal: (a) the General Use Zone; (b) the Habitat Protection Zone; (c) the Conservation Park Zone; (d) the Buffer Zone; (e) the Scientific Research Zone; (f) the Marine National Park Zone; (g) the Preservation Zone; (h) the Commonwealth Islands Zone.

    The Girringun TUMRA provides a new framework and basis for achieving sustainable levels of harvesting, while (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, RAP Information Sheet, 2002, 1):

    • meeting conservation obligations
    • remaining consistent with the Native Title Act 1993
    • encouraging cooperative and culturally appropriate management of the reef
    • establishing an Indigenous Partnerships Liaison Unit within the GBRMPA


    Related Entries

    Organisation
  • Girringun Aboriginal Corporation - Signatory
  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Signatory
  • Environmental Protection Agency (Queensland) - Signatory
  • Girringun and Elders Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation
  • Girringun Governing Council
  • State of Queensland - Signatory
  • Commonwealth of Australia - Signatory
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (Cth)
  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983 (Cth)
  • Native Title Amendment Act 1998 (Cth)

  • References

    Media Release
    Department of the Environment and Heritage Working Together to Improve Indigenous Land Management
    Report
    Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2007) A Reef Wide Framework for Managing Traditional Use of Marine Resources in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
    Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2003) Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003
    Resource
    United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Heritage Committee (1972) Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
    Resource Section
    Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2020) Traditional Use of Marine Resource Agreement Summary

    Glossary

    Native Title (Australia) | Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Australia) | Aboriginal Corporation (Australia) | Framework Agreement | Local Government | Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) (Native Title Act) (Australia) | Traditional Use Marine Resource Agreements | Indigenous Partnership | Indigenous Protected Area (Australia)

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