NAILSMA Saltwater People Network

Balkanu was appointed as Saltwater People Network (SPN) Facilitator for Cape York regions (Aurukun, Coen, Cape York’s North Peninsula sub-regions) to coordinate the implementation of improved joint management arrangements relating to sea country activities in joint partnership with NAILSMA and Charles Darwin University.  

In meeting the project’s key objective to develop a strategic plan for enhancing saltwater community participation in the Saltwater People Network (SPN) across Northern Australia from the Kimberley to Cape York, Balkanu led community groups, and Traditional Owners, Land Trusts organisations in discussions to establish an improved Sea Country Management and Heritage Plan. The tasks included collaboration with stakeholders like  GBRMPA, QPWS, NRM service providers, scientific experts to advance the plan.

We help to promote the introduction of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge,  implemented I-tracker as a planning tool,  monitoring of  turtle and dugong distribution, evaluation of ghost net distribution records, building a platform of data sharing protocols and established agreements to enable regional sharing as well as other useful approach helpful for building capacity of the SPN.  

In addition Balkanu assisted with capacity building by encouraging ranger exchanges; community networks; and organising workshops that enhance the technical skills of rangers and seeking out opportunities for collaborative working arrangements with wider support groups.

The SPN Facilitator work program helped to link broader welfare reform and economic development priorities of communities and government for an improved joint management in the GBRMP and coastal National Parks on the east coast of Cape York. 

Local plans with local Land Trusts such as Apudthama, Umpila, Kulla clans were developed to support a Land, Sea and Heritage plan in consultation with Dept of Environment and Resource Management, Charles Darwin university and other professional consultants.

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