Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Sea countries of the south: Indigenous interest and connections within the South-west Marine Region of Australia

Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)
Australian Government Department of Environment and Water Resources
© Commonwealth of Australia 2007

PDF file

About the report

Indigenous interests in 'sea country' have been maintained by Indigenous peoples in Australia for thousands of years. Within the South-west Marine Region (SWMR), Nunga, Noongar and Yamatji Indigenous peoples have owned and managed this diverse and resource-rich region. While ownership and stewardship continue to be exercised by Indigenous people of the SWMR, Indigenous communities and individuals often do not have access to, or benefit from, these marine resources.

The launch of Australia's Oceans Policy in 1998 and the subsequent creation of the National Oceans Office introduced a platform for the development of integrated bioregional planning within sea country. Indigenous interests and values have been identified as integral to this planning process. Recognition of Indigenous systems of management and protection through the documentation of integrated Indigenous uses and values in sea country is the first step.

This report has examined:

This sea country report notes the numerous state and federal government policy statements in regard to fishing, aquaculture, cultural heritage, native title and environmental management that give voice to Indigenous interests in these areas. Importantly, the report reveals the complexity of Indigenous interests and values in the SWMR and also documents the plethora of programmes and regional management regimes that are currently in place, or being negotiated.

Cover of the report

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