Aboriginal Fishing

​​​​​​​​​​The Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995 provides for aboriginal activities, including non-commercial fishing, the taking of prescribed fish for the manufacture of artefacts for sale and by the issuing of permits and exemptions.

People engaging in Aboriginal fishing activities must prove that they are Aboriginal and that their fishing is an aboriginal activity.​

Non-Commercial Fishing

undefinedThe rules for non-commercial fishing apply to both recreational fishers and Aboriginal people engaged in aboriginal activities. Aboriginal people engaged in non-commercial fishing activities are exempt from requirements to hold a sea fishing licence but must comply with all other fisheries rules, including bag and possession limits, size restrictions and seasons. Details of these requirements may be found in the annual Recreational Sea Fishing Guide or the Tas Fish Guide phone app. Copies of the Guide are available free from Service Tasmania. Fish measuring rulers for scalefish and measuring gauges for rock lobster, abalone and scallops are also available from Service Tasmania and tackle shops.

Gear Marking

Whilst a licence is not required for Aboriginal people to undertake aboriginal fishing activities, rock lobster pots, set lines, gillnets or unattended rock lobster rings must be clearly marked with a unique identification code (UIC) and the gear code. This is to aid with compliance so people do not tamper with other people's gear, use more gear than they are entitled to and assist in the return of lost or stolen gear. The UIC needs to be clearly written on the marker buoy, or in the case of an approved tag, attached to the buoy or buoy line so it is on or within 30 cm of the surface of the water.  In addition, the marker buoy needs to be marked with letters reflecting the attached gear type: "P" for pot, "R" for an unattended ring, "M" for mullet net, "G" for graball net, "DL" for drop line, "LL" for long line. This will assist in not having gear unnecessarily pulled and removed.

The policy document Recognition of Aboriginal Fishing Activities for issuing a Unique Identifying Code (UIC) to a person for Aboriginal Fishing activity explains the steps to take in applying for a UIC.  The policy is based on the Tasmanian Government's policy for determining eligibility for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services.

The forms needed to apply can be downloaded below:

  Aboriginal Fishing Activity Unique Identifying Code   (84Kb)

Aboriginal Eligibility Policy​

Prescribed Fish and Manufacturing Artifacts for Sale

Aboriginal people engaged in aboriginal activities may take prescribed fish and manufacture artifacts for sale. This allows the making of artifacts such as shell necklaces and kelp baskets. Download the list of prescribed fish.

Permits and Exemptions

There is provision in the Act to issue an exemption or permit for Aboriginal fishing activities that may be contrary to the existing recreational fishing provisions. To obtain these, it is necessary to demonstrate that the fishing activities are associated with Aboriginal cultural or ceremonial activities. More information on permits.

Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe


Recreational Fishing Enquiries
Level 3, 134 Macquarie St
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 3233, 1300 720 647
Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au