Aboriginal Fishing

The Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995 provides for Aboriginal fishing, including
  • recreational fishing,
  • taking prescribed fish; and 
  • cultural fishing under permits and exemptions.
People engaging in Aboriginal fishing should establish that they are Aboriginal and that their fishing is an Aboriginal activity.

Recreational fishing

undefinedRecreational rules apply to both recreational and Aboriginal fishers.  Aboriginal people are exempt from holding 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 can be found in the Recreational Sea Fishing Guide or the Tas Fish Guide phone app.  Copies of the Guide are available free from Service Tasmania. Fish measuring rulers and gauges are available from Service Tasmania and tackle shops.

Gear marking

Whilst Aboriginal people don’t require a licence, 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 help identify and return lost gear and aid compliance, so people do not tamper with other people's gear or use more gear than allowed.

The UIC needs to be clearly written on the marker buoy, or for approved tags, attached to the buoy or buoy line so it is on or within 30 cm of the surface of the water.  The marker buoy must be marked with gear type letters: ‘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 helps prevent the gear being unnecessarily pulled.


The policy document Recognition of Aboriginal Fishing Activities explains how to apply 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 to apply can be downloaded here:

  Aboriginal Fishing Activity Unique Identifying Code   (84Kb)

Aboriginal Eligibility Policy


Prescribed fish and artifacts for sale

Aboriginal people 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

Aboriginal cultural or ceremonial fishing that are contrary to existing fishing rules can be allowed for by permit or exemption. More information on permits.

Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe

Contact

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