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The Meriam people are perhaps best known for their involvement in the High Court of Australia's Mabo decision which fundamentally changed land law in Australia - recognising Aboriginal traditional ownership.
Although gardening takes priority, each Meriam family has sea rights, and on the reefs in front of their houses, which are mainly built above the beach, they maintain stone fish-weirs and crayfish holes. Skilled seafarers, the Meriam also retain fishing rights over reefs extending 60 km north and south of the islands.
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