Northern Land Council Considering Permits for Fishers


In the Top End the Northern Land Council says it will consider introducing fishing permits for inter tidal waters as traditional owners grow impatient with Government negotiations.

A landmark 2008 native title decision found traditional owners in the NT had exclusive access rights to tidal waters that overlie Aboriginal land, giving owners control over about 84 per cent of the coastline.

After ten years of negotiations with the government the council says many are becoming concerned with the time taken.

nlc-fishing-access-map Image: Northern Land Council

Since 2007 an interim arrangement has allowed recreational fishers and commercial operators to access tidal waters, but now NLC acting chief executive Jonathon McLeod says the council has ‘had enough’ and from July 1 permits will be required for recreational fishers while commercial operators will need to obtain a licence agreement.

Acting chief executive of the NLC Jonathon McLeod says the council decided to draw a line in the sand.


While current permits are free Mr McLeod says any cost for access after July 1 is yet to be negotiated.

In a statement, the NT Government said it was committed to negotiating with the NLC to ensure a permanent agreement is reached.

Image: Kat Gerste

Stephen Clarke

Stephen Clarke

NIRS Journalist