Mining, tourism, and recreational fishing are all part of a contemporary Groote Eylandt.
In all these commercial endeavours, however, traditional owners make sure they’ll bring positive environmental, social and economic outcomes for the Anindilyakwa people before agreeing to sustainable land use for these activities.
Protecting and conserving the biosecurity and unique environment of the archipelago and its many endangered animals is a cultural obligation of the Anindilyakwa people.
A team of around 20 Indigenous rangers work to conserve the biodiversity, ecological and cultural values of the island through traditional and contemporary management activities across both the land and sea, including:
- removal of marine debris, including dangerous ghosts nets that can trap and kill marine life (rangers collect an average of 350 kilograms of net a day)
- protection of turtle nesting areas
- collaborating on research and biodiversity surveys with scientists from the NT Government
- quarantine monitoring activities with NT Water Police and NT Fisheries
- coastal surveillance patrols and managing visitor access via permits to recreational areas
- weed spraying
- barge inspections for cane toads, with sniffer dogs trained to detect the toad
- trapping feral cats
- tag and release of fish to track behaviour and migration.
Such is the people’s resolve to maintain the sustainability of native wildlife on the island that cats are strictly prohibited on Groote Eylandt and all dogs must be de-sexed before they’re allowed in. A strict permit system also oversees the movement of domestic animals around Groote.
The manganese mine on Groote Eylandt operates a rehabilitation program to care for areas affected by mining operations.