Sea Country (Fish and Other Seafoods, Mangguru and Balguja)


Wunambal Gaambera people are saltwater people. Our ancestors travelled these waters by raft and canoe right out to the outer reefs and islands. Our ancestral sea wanjinas are represented in our cave paintings at places like Jalandal and Bigge Island. Now we continue on that tradition of looking after our wundaagu (saltwater) country. 

Wanjina Wunggurr Uunguu Native Title Determination recognised our Native Title rights to our wundaagu (saltwater) country. Our Wundaagu is protected under an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) . Find out more about this in our Uunguu Indigenous Protected Area: Wundaagu (Saltwater) Plan of Management 2016-2020 which is a sub plan to our Healthy Country Plan. We have prepared and approved our second Wundaagu (Saltwater) Plan of Management 2021-2030


We have strong customary practices for collecting and harvesting fish and other seafoods from different Saltwater Country such as warrurru (reefs) and darrngarla (mangroves).  These traditions are from our Lalai (dreaming).  We know when fish and seafoods are fat and in season by signs like the flowering of trees.  Our old people had different methods to catch fish like using ‘fish poison’ (ichthycides) or fish traps.  Today we catch fish with lines and spears.  We always eat what we catch.  We know seafoods are healthy when the water is clean and when we can catch enough to feed our families.  Threatening processes make the country no good such as overfishing, marine debris, marine pests and disease and pollution.  

Mangguru (marine turtles) and balguja (dugong)

Marine turtle and dugong are priority species for the Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation’s Uunguu Rangers as well as federal conservation management plans. This is how we monitor these populations using a boat-based methodology. The team consists of the Ranger group, the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA) and CSIRO.

Here is a video we made doing our turtle and dugong survey:


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