The sea country in Bawinanga’s area of operation is some of the most pristine in northern Australia. Landowners of the sea country have a strong tradition of managing and harvesting these resources and in doing so they maintain their knowledge of the sea country and its plants and animals. As on the land, the sea country also contains sacred sites that have a special cultural significance to landowners. Some of these places are registered as sacred sites under the NT Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act.
The rich sea country provides food resources and recreational activities to the people of Maningrida and also to the wider Australian population through commercial fishing and fishing tourism operators. Landowners are worried about the sustainability of their marine species and also the physical and cultural impact of visitors to their sea country. As the community of Maningrida grows, more people are looking to utilise the sea country and its resources.
Landowners are generally happy for visitors to come onto their country. However, visitors need to ask for permission and be informed by Landowners where it is safe for them to visit so that important cultural sites are not disturbed. Visitors must also be respectful to country and not leave their rubbish behind, as this both shames landowners and creates a hazard for marine species. Leaving fish carcasses by the shoreline also creates a threat from cheeky crocodiles.
Our goals for our sea and coast are that our saltwater country and its plants and animals remain in a healthy condition, and that our marine resources are managed sustainably, continuing to provide important resources to landowners.
The main threats to our sea and coast are:
- Empty country
- Loss of knowledge
- Climate change
- Coastal pollution
- Problem animals
- Commercial and illegal fishing
Together with landowners and djungkay, we check how effective our threat mitigation activities are by measuring:
- The size of the healthy population of key fish species;
- How clean our beaches are;
- The presence of migratory sea birds and turtles; and
- The health status of sacred sites on sea country.