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 A turtle is lifted into a boat as part of the rivers to reefs to turtles program ©  WWF-Aus / Christine Hof

 A turtle is lifted into a boat as part of the rivers to reefs to turtles program © WWF-Aus / Christine Hof

Traditional Owners and WWF join forces for GBR turtles

16 Dec 2015

  • climate change
  • dugongs
  • great barrier reef
  • indigenous partnerships
  • marine turtles

A partnership between Traditional Owners in North Queensland and WWF-Australia will be signed today in Mackay marking the start of an Indigenous conservation program in one of the Great Barrief Reef’s most naturally abundant coastal areas.
The agreement between the Yuibera Aboriginal Corporation and WWF-Australia will create a spirit of collaboration between the two organisations and advance the capacity of Traditional Owners to conduct research and monitoring of marine turtles, dugongs and water quality on their land and sea country.
Yuibera land and sea country extends from Beach Point in the north to Cape Palmerston in the south. It covers the city of Mackay and the towns of Sarina and Mirani, as well as several inshore islands including Brampton Island.
The area supports the Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal ports and the largest sugar cane production area in Queensland. It also supports important populations of turtles and dugongs.
“Flatback and green turtles nest on islands off the coast and dugong sanctuaries have been declared within Yuibera Sea Country,” said Yuibera Elder Gary Mooney.
“This new partnership will build on the conservation work we are already doing and will help us continue monitoring important sea grass areas and other habitats, as well as conducting research into threats to marine life, such as declining water quality.”
The Yuibera Aboriginal Corporation is already involved in turtle conservation activities on Yuibera Sea Country and strongly supported the recently declared St Helens Beach to Cape Hillsborough Net Free Zone.
The new partnership will also see WWF-Australia providing support for the establishment of a Yuibera Aboriginal Corporation Ranger Program, in recognition of the fact that the Yuibera people are the key stewards of their lands and seas.
“A relationship with the Yuibera people will extend our Indigenous engagement efforts into an important part of the Great Barrier Reef coast,” said WWF-Australia’s Species and Indigenous Partnerships Manager Darren Grover.  
“The partnership reflects WWF’s recognition that the Yuibera people are the traditional custodians of this abundant part of the country and therefore critical to the ongoing management of the area’s wildlife and underwater habitats.”
The Memorandum of Understanding with the Yuibera Aboriginal Corporation will be signed at 11 am on Wednesday December 16, at Shoal Point, Mackay.
It will be the fourth partnership WWF-Australia has formed with Great Barrief Reef Indigenous communities after previously signing agreements with the Gudjuda Reference Group, Gidarjil Development Corporation, and the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation.
WWF-Australia Media Contact:

Charlie Stevens, Senior Communications Officer

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