Regional and community-based management arrangements govern the key aspects of traditional use of marine resources, including the sustainable harvest of dugongs and marine turtles (classified as traditional subsistence fisheries under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 (Cth)).
Rangers work closely with community native title bodies, Traditional Owners and hunters to implement community-based dugong and turtle plans using both customary and contemporary mechanisms to ensure sustainability. TSRA Rangers support culturally appropriate compliance with these Traditional Owner endorsed plans, reinforcing Ailan Kastom and traditional governance systems and ensuring strong linkages with regulatory frameworks and partner agencies.
There are some tensions between commercial, recreational and subsistence fishing across Torres Strait, particularly in instances where there is overlap in the areas or fisheries targeted, and traditional protocols or community expectations are not complied with. The impacts of recreational fishing (by non-Indigenous people) tend to be concentrated around the Kaiwalagal (Inner Islands) area. The increasing tourism and population base around the Inner Islands, and pressures associated with recreational fishing, development, pollution, shipping, infrastructure, and lack of management capacity, exacerbate these tensions. Within island communities, the cultural dimensions of subsistence fishing are also changing rapidly with uptake of new technologies (e.g., freezers) and alternative food supplies. Currently there is very little data on the non-commercial take in the region.