8 October 2015 

Aboriginal Cultural Fishing 

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) have released a draft Regulation outlining proposed restrictions on Aboriginal cultural fishing. You can have your say on the draft Regulation until 9 November 2015

 

Background 

In 2009 the NSW Parliament passed a range of amendments to the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW) (FMA) to recognise and provide rights for Aboriginal cultural fishers. 

However, the NSW Government has stated that it wishes to apply limits on Aboriginal cultural fishing before commencing a key amendment ( section 21AA, FMA). This amendment, which has not yet been enacted, would allow Aboriginal people to take and possess fish  for cultural fishing purposes, and provide protection against prosecution for Aboriginal cultural fishers. 

NSWALC is extremely concerned that after 6 years a key amendment to provide protections for Aboriginal cultural fishers has not been commenced. NSWALC has continually urged the NSW Government to commence section 21AA. NSWALC is also concerned regarding the length of time taken to develop a Regulation, and remains concerned that the proposed Regulations will undermine Aboriginal people's rights and interests. 

 

Proposed new rules for Aboriginal cultural fishers 

In summary, the draft Regulation: 

  • Outlines the number of fish that may be taken by, or in the possession of, an Aboriginal person for the purposes of Aboriginal cultural fishing. Some examples are outlined in the below table (please refer the draft Regulation for the full table).
  •  Applies a general daily limit for species not listed in the Regulation table as follows (the DPI has advised these are combined limits):
    • 40 for marine or estuarine species (Proposed Clause 89A(2)(c))
    • 20 for native freshwater fish (other than invertebrates) (Proposed Clause 89A(2)(d))
  • Outlines that all intertidal invertebrates may be shucked within 100 meters of the high water mark if the fish are consumed in the area (Proposed Clause 89B)
  • Outlines that the Aboriginal cultural fishing limits which exceed quantities considered 'commercial quantities' under the FMA do not apply if fishing within the cultural fishing rules (Proposed Clause 89C). 

Species

Proposed daily limit

Current Daily limit as per Interim Access Policy

Abalone

10

10

Flathead (Other than Dusky flathead)

40

40

Bream and Tarwhine

40 in total

40 in total

Tailor

40

40

Blue Swimmer Crab

40

40

Trevally

40

40

Luderick (Blackfish)

40

40

Murray Cod

4

4

Mullet

20

40

Pipis

100

100

Mud crabs

10

10

Eastern Rocklobster

4

4

Murray crayfish

2

4

Oysters

100

100

 

NSWALC and NTSCORP have developed a Fact Sheet which outlines further details regarding the draft Regulation. 

 

DPI meetings 

The DPI will be holding four meetings in October to discuss the draft Regulation as follows: 

13 October - Ballina (Jali Aboriginal Land Council, 129 Tamar St Ballina) - (4pm-5:30pm)

16 October - Kempsey (Kempsey Macleay RSL, 1 York Ln Kempsey) - (4pm-5:30pm)

21 October - Illawarra (Warrigal Employment (The Land), 1 Bakers Ln Windang) - (4pm-5:30pm)

28 October - Narooma (Narooma Gold Club, 1 Ballingalla St Narooma) - (4pm-5:30pm) 

 

Have your say 

The DPI is seeking feedback on the proposed Regulation. Feedback can be submitted to the NSW DPI by: 

Post:  NSW Cultural Fishing Regulation, LMB 3020, NOWRA NSW 2541

Fax:    (02) 4424 7449

Email: cultural.fishing@dpi.nsw.gov.au 

Consultation materials explaining the draft regulation will be available at the regional meetings as well as on the NSW DPI website. Print copies can be requested by emailing cultural.fishing@dpi.nsw.gov.au or by contacting the DPI on (02) 4916 3954. 

NSWALC strongly encourages LALCs and Aboriginal community members to provide feedback. 

 

More information 

Please contact the NSW DPI or visit the DPI website for further information about the draft Regulation: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/aboriginal-fishing/cultural-fishing/draft-regulation

NSWALC will be preparing a submission in response to the draft Regulation. If you would like to provide feedback or to further discuss NSWALC's submission please contact the NSWALC Policy and Programs Unit on 02 9689 4444 or policy@alc.org.au

Lesley Turner

Chief Executive Officer