OceanWatch Australia works with the seafood industry and the community to ensure Australia’s marine environment is healthy, productive, valued and used in a responsible way.

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Indigenous and cultural fishing


“Indigenous people still relate to land that was inundated by sea during the last ice age and regard it as their own.”

Indigenous information passed down from generation to generation and archaeological records show that Aboriginal people occupied, used and managed coastal land and sea environments for many thousands of years before the current sea level stabilised about 5000 years ago.

Indigenous land and sea management, also referred to as “caring for country”, includes a wide range of environmental, natural resource and cultural heritage management activities undertaken by individuals, groups and organisations.

These activities have their origins in the holistic relationship between traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies and their customary land and sea estates or “country” for at least 50,000 years.


Indigenous land and sea management – Case Study

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have harvested marine species for millennia. They still do so, and via a combination of modern and traditional harvesting techniques.

What is important to remember is that the cultural responsibilities and rights to harvest remain and that Australia’s coasts and seas are an integral part of ongoing Indigenous connection to country and culture.

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