Commercial Fishing

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 written agreements with Traditional Aboriginal Owners, or using 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.


Green zones

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:


Red zones

Commercial fishers are not allowed to access Aboriginal waters marked in red on the Commercial Fishing Aboriginal Waters Access Map.

Access is restricted to all Fishing sectors 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 an area just north of the mouth of the East Alligator River (including Saltwater Creek and Murgenella Creek).


Aboriginal Intertidal Waters Access Map

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 $11,100) under Commonwealth law, or 8 penalty units (currently $1,264) under Northern Territory law. The acceptance of insurance claims on Aboriginal land may rely on a valid permit and/or Section 19 Land Use Agreement

Please contact the Sea Country team at Section19_Mail@nlc.org.au or (08) 8920 5100 for more information.


This information was updated on 22 December 2022