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Traditional Owners celebrate launch of new ‘Plan of Management’ for Warraberalgal Porumalgal Indigenous Protected Area (IPA)

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) announces an update to the Management Plan for the Warraberalgal Porumalgal Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) through the collaborative efforts of Traditional Owners, Elders, community members and partners.

An Indigenous Protected Area is an area of Indigenous-owned land and/or sea where traditional owners have entered into an agreement (in most cases with the Australian Government) to promote biodiversity and cultural resource conservation.

The Warraberalgal Porumalgal IPA was declared by Traditional Owners from the Torres Strait central islands of Warraber and Poruma in 2014 and was expanded in 2018 to include the islands of Uttu and Yarpar within the IPA.

TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, saidthe new management plan has now been updated to reflect the inclusion of these two islands including traditional owner aspirations for the 11 islands, rocks and sandbanks that make up the IPA.

“Indigenous Protected Areas make up part of Australia’s National Reserve System, a nation-wide network of reserves especially set up to protect examples of Australia’s unique landscapes, flora and fauna for current and future generations,” Mr Stephen said.

“This new management plan more accurately reflects Traditional Owner aspirations for the islands by incorporating the vision and quotes in Kulkalgau Yalanguage, a critically endangered language of the Central Torres Strait Islands.

“The update also includes Traditional Owner stories, quotes and aspirations, local artworks and images and is dedicated to the Mura Warraberalgal and Porumalgal Elders past, current and future.

A key element of the launch of the new IPA Plan was an invitation for IPA partners to visit Poruma to celebrate the launch with community members and talk about partnerships going forward and how the islands of the IPA play an integral part in preserving and celebrating Porumalgal and Warraberalgal culture.

Partners of the Warraberalgal Porumalgal IPA include agencies such as AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority), AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) and ABF (Australian Border Force).

A meeting was held prior to the plan launch whereby IPA partners and Traditional Owners of the IPA outlined how they can work collaboratively to address some of the issues that concern the islands of the IPA, including illegal visitation, fisheries management and shipping movements.

The TSRA Rangers from Warraber and Poruma Islands together with Traditional Owners partner together to implement the Plan of Management priority actions and carry out the conservation activities identified in the Plan.

The launch of the updated IPA plan was celebrated recently on Poruma Island with many of the Elders, Traditional Owners and IPA Partners coming together to be entertained with songs from students of Tagai College Poruma Campus.

Pictured: Warraber and Poruma community members holding the new Warraberalgal Porumalgal IPA Management Plan.

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.