Australian Marine Parks

National Oceans Office, 2004. ISBN 1 8770 4340 0.

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About the publications

The Living on Saltwater Country document forms part of the outcomes of the scoping phase for the Northern regional marine planning process.

Its aim is to provide an overview of the key elements and themes emerging from the literature relevant to this area in the context of contemporary marine management and resource use.

The document was commissioned by the National Oceans Office and carried out by consultants with advice, collaboration and input from the Northern Land Council, the Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation and the Carpentaria Land Council under the auspices of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA).

Living on Saltwater Country summarises the main sources of publicly available written information about Aboriginal associations with, rights to, responsibility for, use of, and management of marine environments in the Northern Planning Area.

Most of the information has been sourced from books, journals, conference proceedings, workshop transcripts and land and sea claim hearings.

Some use has also been made of unpublished material, with permission of the appropriate sources. No culturally sensitive or restricted information has been used or referred to in this report.

The information contained in this report will inform the development of a regional marine plan for the Northern Planning Area.

Structure of the report

This literature review has been prepared in the following sections.

Part A covers the Northern Territory and Southern Gulf of Carpentaria regions of the Northern Planning Area. This part of the report was overseen and facilitated by the Northern Land Council and Carpentaria Land Council. Part A was prepared by Dr Dermot Smyth who has a background in natural resource management with a focus on indigenous use and management of marine and coastal resources.

Part B covers the western Cape York and the Kaurareg Aboriginal sea country in far northern Cape York and southern Torres Strait. This part of the report was overseen and facilitated by Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation and the Cape York Land Council. Part B was prepared by Mr Jim Monaghan who is a geographer specialising in the use of natural and cultural space and has many years experience working in both the Kowanyama and Pormpuraaw areas.

Part C draws together the key themes emerging from across the region and summarises documented accounts of Indigenous concerns about current marine environmental and resource management, and Indigenous needs and aspirations for the future use and management of sea country. This section was prepared by Dr Dermot Smyth in discussion with Northern Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) partners.

Part D summarises the main conclusions emerging from Part A, Part B and Part C and sets out some of the policy challenges and options resulting from consideration of these themes. This section was prepared by Dr Dermot Smyth in discussion with NAILSMA partners.

We believe that this review presents a picture that amounts to more than the sum of its parts and provides a powerful argument for a fresh approach to engagement of Aboriginal people in the planning and management of saltwater country in the Northern Planning Region.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of this vast area and would like to thank the primary authors for their dedication to the task.

North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance June 2004