Indigenous owners hope ancient eel traps will be recognised as world heritage

Lake Condah

Traditional owners pushing for a 6,000-year-old network of eel traps in south-west Victoria to be included on the world heritage list will find out next month if the Australian government has accepted their bid.

The traps were built by the Gunditjmara people to manage eels in Lake Condah and nearby Darlot Creek and are among the earliest surviving examples of aquaculture.

Known as Budj Bim, the site received national heritage listing in 2004 and has been put forward for inclusion in the Australian government’s nomination to the Unesco world heritage council by the Victorian government, at the instigation of the Gunditjmara people, as part of an $8m management plan.

Gunditjmara elder Dennis Rose said a world heritage listing would ensure the long-term protection of the site – some of which was damaged when non-Indigenous farmers drained the lake at the end of the 19th century – and also attract visitors to the area.

Work has already begun to improve the area for visitors, with proposed construction of interpretive signage, improved access and a traditional eel aquaculture interpretation centre.

Gavin Jennings, the acting Aboriginal affairs minister, said it could become a world-class sustainable tourism site.

This is an excerpt from an article originally published by The Guardian.

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