Towards community-based management of natural marine resources in Torres Strait

Kwan, Donna, Dews, Geoff, Bishop, Mick, and Garnier, Henry (2001) Towards community-based management of natural marine resources in Torres Strait. In: Baker, R., Davies, J., and Young, E., (eds.) Working on Country: Contemporary Indigenous Management of Australia's Lands and Coastal Regions. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, pp. 214-230.

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[Extract] Marine resources including dugongs, sea turtles, fish, and a diverse range of shellfish and other invertebrate species have been used by Torres Strait Islanders for at least several thousand years. The longstanding importance of resources such as dugongs and turtles for subsistence has been traced in archaeological deposits dating back 2000 years (Vanderwal1973). Today, Torres Strait Islanders' strong cultural attachment to their islands, sea, reefs, sea-bed, and their marine resources is reflected in their average rates of seafood consumption being among the highest in the world Qohannes & Macfarlane 1991). This chapter discusses some of the initiatives being developed with the long-term objective of contributing to capacity building for a community-based management approach to the ecologically and culturally important dugong and turtle resources. Such initiatives are consistent with the socio-political aspirations of Torres Strait Islanders to achieve greater political autonomy.

Knowledge of the islands, sea, reefs, and sea-bed are an integral part of Ai/an Kastom, the customary way of life of Torres Strait Islanders (Nietschmann 1989). In contemporary times, Ailan Kastom continues to embody the cultural and spiritual significance of the sea in its customs, traditions, observances, and beliefs. Ailan Kastom forges a strong bond between different island communities and between Torres Strait Islanders living in the region and on the mainland. It also provides the basis of fundamental customary rights for both resource use and access to marine areas.

Item ID: 14354
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 0-19-551217-0
Keywords: Indigenous communities; natural resources management; Torres Strait
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2017 02:37
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960999 Land and Water Management of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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