Commercial fishers operate in various waters including Aboriginal waters. The term ‘Aboriginal waters’ refers to waters overlying Aboriginal land.
Permission is required to enter Aboriginal land and waters, including for Commercial Fishers. Permission to fish in Aboriginal waters is provided via Section 19 Land Use Agreements administered by the NLC.
The following information outlines arrangements for commercial fishers who would like to access Aboriginal waters from 1 January 2023.
No section 19 required
Commercial fishers who would like to access Aboriginal waters marked in green on the Commercial Fishing Aboriginal Waters Access Map are able to do so without the need to apply for a Section 19 Land Use Agreement.
The Traditional Aboriginal Owners of these areas have entered into an access agreement with the Northern Territory Government to allow people to access their waters.
Black, Blue and Purple zones
Section 19 required
Commercials fishers who would like to access Aboriginal waters marked in black, blue and purple on the Commercial Fishing Aboriginal Waters Access Map need to apply for a Section 19 Land Use Agreement. Please click on the link below to apply:
Commercial fishers are not allowed to access Aboriginal waters marked in red on the Commercial Fishing Aboriginal Waters Access Map.
Access is restricted to the Commercial Fishing sector for Aboriginal waters in the following locations:
- Along the Finniss coast and the Peron Islands area (including the Little Finniss).
- Areas around the Mini Mini system down to the mouth of East Alligator River (including Saltwater Creek, Murgenella Creek and Coopers Creek)
Aboriginal Waters Access Map - Commercial Fishing
To view all Aboriginal Waters Access Maps click here.
Unauthorised entry onto Aboriginal land and waters could result in a fine of 50 penalty units (currently $15,650) under Commonwealth law, or 8 penalty units (currently $1,408) under Northern Territory law. The acceptance of insurance claims on Aboriginal land may also rely on a valid permit.
Please contact the Section 19 team at Section19_Mail@nlc.org.au or (08) 8920 5100. If you would like any further information, please contact the Sea Country team at email@example.com or (08) 8980 1925
This information was updated on 19 July 2023