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 Mamu 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 Mamu TUMRA, Traditional Owners advised they not only wanted to alter the permit system for traditional activities, additionally, they wanted to develop and manage their own community-based plans for preservation of the Reef.
Traditional use of marine resources encompass: fishing, collecting, hunting and gathering.
Traditional use of marine resource activities can only be conducted in accordance with s 211 of the Native Title Act 1993, the PCCC Regional TUMRA or as permitted in writing by the GBRMPA.
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 Mamu 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.
Mamu Traditional Owners undertake traditional use of marine resource activities under the TUMRA to:
- educate younger generations about traditional rules, protocols, practices and activities on sea country
- practice their living maritime culture
- provide traditional food for families
- provide employment and business opportunities for their community
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.
For further information on these arrangements follow the link to the Great Barrier Reef Management Authority below.
Native Title Provisions
Native Title in the Agreement Area
This agreement is within the area of the native title determination Brooks on behalf of the Mamu People v State of Queensland (No 4)  FCA 1453 (FCA file no.: QUD6014/2001, NNTT file no.: QCD2013/005).