Frequently Asked Questions

Fishing in the Territory

Can I go fishing in the Territory?

Yes. Temporary arrangements have been negotiated that allow commercial and recreational fishers and other water users to access waters overlying Aboriginal land while regional agreements are negotiated.

For recreational fishing access to the Tiwi Islands enquiries should be directed to Tiwi Land Council on (08) 8941 1162 or by visiting the website www.tiwilandcouncil.com.

Specific queries can be directed to Recreational Fishing Unit either through GPO Box 3000 Darwin NT 0801 or telephone +61 8 8999 2144.

Do fishing controls such as bag and size limits still apply?

Yes. The High Court determined that the Northern Territory's Fisheries Act applies to all waters throughout the Territory. This means that all existing controls for recreational, fishing charter and commercial operators apply in all waters throughout the Territory.

Details on recreational fishing controls are available from the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, Recreational Fishing website.

What does this mean if I book a fishing charter?

Licensed fishing tour operators can continue to take their clients fishing under the interim arrangements. If you are taking a fishing charter with a licensed operator, there is no need to gain an individual permit to fish in waters affected by the decision.

Guided fishing tour operators are required to enter into negotiated agreements with the Tiwi Land Council if they wish to operate within waters overlying Aboriginal land on Melville (NTP1644) and Bathurst (NTP 1640 & NTP 3042) Islands (Tiwi Islands).

What about commercial fishermen?

Like recreational anglers, commercial fishermen can continue to operate under the interim arrangements while permanent arrangements are finalised. All existing controls such as closures, fishing seasons and minimum sizes still apply.

The only exception is waters overlying Aboriginal land on Melville (NTP1644) and Bathurst (NTP 1640 & NTP 3042) Islands (Tiwi Islands) where commercial fishermen are required to enter into negotiated agreements with the Tiwi Land Council.

Who will enforce it?

The Northern Territory Police is responsible for enforcing our fisheries controls.

What is the Marine Rangers program?

There are already 16 established Marine/Sea Ranger groups working across much of the Territory coastline. 

For further information on the existing Marine Ranger Program.

The High Court decision

What did the High Court decide?

In 2008, the High Court decided that the Fisheries Act applies in all waters throughout the Territory. However, permission is required from the relevant Land Council to permit entry into waters overlying Aboriginal land for fishing.

What areas are affected by the decision?

The High Court decision covers all intertidal waters overlying Aboriginal land.

 

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