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Festival celebrates agreement

Byellee clan member Michael Cook and Gooreng Gooreng clan member Colin Johnson receive accreditation from Tumra for their outstanding care of the marine environment at the Gidarjil Cultural Fest at Lions Park.
Byellee clan member Michael Cook and Gooreng Gooreng clan member Colin Johnson receive accreditation from Tumra for their outstanding care of the marine environment at the Gidarjil Cultural Fest at Lions Park. Max Fleet BUNFES

THE signing of a memorandum of understanding that will see local indigenous groups engage in sustainable ocean hunting practices was celebrated on Friday at the Gidarjil Festival at Lions Park.

A crowd gathered to celebrate the largest ever Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement, in which the Port Curtis Coral Coast traditional owner groups - including the Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, Bailai and Tarebilang Bunda people - have committed not to take dugongs or loggerhead and flatback turtles.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt said this was an important voluntary agreement.

"This agreement ensures valuable cultural practices continue to exist while supporting the goal of long-term conservation and management of marine resources," he said.

Kerry Blackman, a Port Curtis Coral Coast representative, said the decision to enter into the agreement was about protecting a place that was of significance to them.

"As traditional owners, we know that turtles and dugong in our sea country are being badly affected by water quality, seagrass loss, boat strikes, poaching and some commercial industries," Mr Blackman said.

"By developing and implementing this agreement, we are doing our bit to ensure the longevity of these species for future generations while continuing to maintain and pass on important cultural knowledge and practices."

Topics:  dugongs indigenous port curtis coral coast turtles


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