Considerations for future investment in Northern Territory fisheries

As a consequence of the High Court decision regarding Blue Mud Bay, a Heads of Agreement has been developed and signed by the NT Government, Northern Land Council, NT Seafood Council, Amateur Fishermen’s Association NT and the NT Guided Fishing Industry Association.

The Heads of Agreement articulates a practical way forward on the Blue Mud Bay outcome, in order to provide economic development opportunities for Aboriginal people including through commercial and tourism fishing, ensure Traditional Owners have meaningful involvement in the management of the Territory’s fisheries, and provide greater certainty for users in relation to access to tidal waters overlying Aboriginal land.

This will result in significant changes to fisheries legislation and policy and to the management of inshore fisheries in particular. The NLC has also made clear that the current open access waiver to Aboriginal tidal waters will cease on 31 December 2020.

Existing and new operators in affected NT commercial and fishing tour fisheries are warned that any expansion of fishing effort or increased investment may not be recognised following the implementation of new management arrangements that may be put in place as outcomes of these reviews. In addition, current arrangements may be significantly altered to accommodate the outcomes of a changed fisheries management framework.

Persons considering acquiring NT fishing entitlements, or further investing in existing businesses, should note this investment warning and are encouraged to seek their own independent advice prior to making any investment decisions.

Read more about fishing on Aboriginal land go to the NT Government website.

Last updated: 21 November 2019

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