Blue Mud Bay Registration FAQs

Intertidal Zone information from 1 March 2021.

1. What is Blue Mud Bay registration?

From 1 March 2021, the NLC will introduce permit-free access to extensive areas of the intertidal zone – also known as Aboriginal sea country - on the Northern Territory mainland by a simple process of on-line registration that is quick, simple and free and will give recreational fishers access to many areas of tidal Aboriginal land until 31 December 2022.

It is called the Blue Mud Bay registration process in recognition of the historic decision by the High Court of Australia in 2008 that recognises Aboriginal ownership of tidal Aboriginal land – sometimes called the 'intertidal zone' - in the Northern Territory.

Simply return to the Blue Mud Bay Registration page on this website and register. You will automatically receive your documents by return email. You will also receive maps and Terms and Conditions.

2. Where do I need Blue Mud Bay registration for?

You will need Blue Mud Bay registration for the Blue Mud Bay Access Area that is marked in yellow on the Tidal Waters Access Map, which can be found on this website under the Blue Mud Bay Registration page.

You will not need registration from the NLC for access to areas subject to Long Term Agreements that are marked in green on the Tidal Waters Access Map.

The areas marked in red on the Tidal Waters Access Map map are Restricted Areas. These are the subject of continuing access consultations by the NLC or where for cultural, environmental or commercial reasons, Traditional Owners want to restrict access.

3. Where can I fish in the Finniss River?

You can fish the northern bank of the Finniss River up to a point approximately 5km upstream from the mouth of the river, i.e. to GPS points 130.3737689S – 12.885346E.

Beyond this point is the Delissaville/Wagait/Larrakia Aboriginal Land Trust, access to which is currently restricted.

4. Where can I fish in the East Alligator River?

You can fish in the East Alligator River up to Cahills Crossing at the boundary of the Kakadu National Park and the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust.

5. What is the intertidal zone?

The intertidal zone is the area between the high tide and low tide water marks. In relation to Aboriginal sea rights stemming from the Blue Mud Bay decision, the intertidal zone is the area between the mean high tide and the mean low water marks.

6. How did NLC derive the mean low watermark on Aboriginal Land Trusts?

The NLC has based intertidal zone mapping on information from the NT Government survey plans for each Aboriginal land trust and the National Intertidal Digital Elevation Model (https://www.ga.gov.au/dea/products/nidem) and NASA's mapping using Landsat (https://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/article/welcome-intertidal-zone-mapping-australias-coast-landsat)

The NLC has used the NIDEM model to plot the mean low watermark (MLWM) but that model does have some limitations and the NLC has used a conservative approach. It is expected that Land Trust boundaries will be revised by the NT government in due course the NLC will then apply any new information at that time.

7. If I have a Blue Mud Bay access permission do I also need a transit permit if I’m travelling through Aboriginal land?

Yes, Blue Mud Bay registration only allows you to access Aboriginal tidal waters by boat.

If you need to travel through Aboriginal land to access Aboriginal tidal waters, you will need a separate transit permit. To apply for these see the Permits page on this website.

8. We’re travelling in a convoy of boats, does each person in each boat need to register?

Yes. Each person travelling on a boat requires registration, except children under the age of 18 whose parent(s) are travelling in the boats and have Blue Mud Bay registration.