Recreational Fishing

Recreational fishing is a popular activity in the Northern Territory and occurs 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 recreational fishing. Permission to fish in Aboriginal waters is provided via written agreements with Traditional Aboriginal Owners, or using Recreational Fishing Permits administered by the NLC. 

The information below outlines access arrangements for recreational fishers who would like to access Aboriginal waters as of 1 January 2023.


Green zones

No permit required

Recreational fishers who would like to access Aboriginal waters marked in green on the Recreational Fishing Aboriginal Waters Access Map are able to do so without the need to apply for a Recreational Fishing Permit. 

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

Permit required

Recreational fishers who would like to access Aboriginal waters marked in black, blue and purple on the Recreational Fishing Aboriginal Waters Access Map need to apply for a recreational fishing permit. The system will issue you with an automatic permit to be able to access Aboriginal waters for the zone and date range you have applied for. Please click on the link below to apply.


Red areas

Recreational fishers are not allowed to access Aboriginal waters marked in red on the Recreational 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 Water 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 also rely on a valid permit.

Please contact Darwin Head Office at reception@nlc.org.au or (08) 8920 5100 for more information.


This information was updated on 22 December 2022