Dugong and turtle management project nominated for national award 


A breakthrough dugong and marine turtle management project is a finalist in the prestigious Banksia Environmental Foundation’s 2008 Banksia Environment Awards.

The Dugong and Marine Turtle Project, led by the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), will compete for top honours in the Indigenous and People’s Choice award categories.

NAILSMA Executive Officer, Joe Morrison said the project had brought together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with scientists and government from across northern Australia to support Indigenous management and protection of the threatened marine species.

“Northern Australia is one of the last remaining in-tact marine ecosystems of its kind and Indigenous people are the ‘front-line’ managers of the coastline where dugong and turtle remain abundant, as has been the case for millennia,” he said.

“Driven by Indigenous people, the project has taken a practical approach by creating new Indigenous ranger programs and supported communities to combine Traditional Knowledge with modern research and training to undertake management activities such as mapping and monitoring populations and habitats, tracking turtle migrations by satellite, and developing turtle and dugong management plans.”

The project supports Indigenous people across the north to share knowledge and experiences with each other, others around Australia and even overseas, through ranger exchanges and innovative communication tools such as Message Disk—a DVD of audio-visual on-country stories by Indigenous rangers.

CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Garnett will join Project Coordinator Rod Kennett, NAILSMA project participants, Tropical Savannas CRC Chief Executive Officer, David Garnett, and Traditional Owners at the awards ceremony to be held in Melbourne on Friday, 18 July.

Vote for the NAILSMA Dugong and Marine Turtle Project for the People’s Choice Award at www.banksiafdn.com/peopleschoice/2008_peoples_choice.php.

To find out more about the NAILSMA Dugong and Marine Turtle Project, visit http://www.nailsma.org.au/projects/dugong_turtle.html

The Banksia Environmental Foundation Award Programs, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as patron, aim to raise the profile of current environmental issues facing Australia and recognise those whose initiatives provide examples for others to follow.