NSWALC welcomes Upper House support for cultural fishing

8 November 2022

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has welcomed the report, handed down yesterday, into the commencement of the Fisheries Management Amendment Act 2009.

“It’s simple. The NSW Government must immediately end the prosecutions of Aboriginal people exercising their cultural fishing rights. And it must commence Section 21AA of the Fisheries Management Act 1994, which the NSW Parliament passed 13 years ago, but we are still waiting for action” NSWALC Chairperson, Cr Danny Chapman said.

“We are pleased our voices have been heard,” said Cr Chapman, who appeared at two public hearings at Narooma and also at Parliament House.

NSWALC supports the Upper House Committee’s recommendation for fisheries officers to immediately cease all surveillance, compliance actions and prosecution actions against Aboriginal cultural fishers and to review and withdraw any penalty infringement notices issued to Aboriginal individuals on the South Coast who were practising cultural fishing. The review and withdrawal of penalty infringement noticesshould be applicable to all Aboriginal peoples practising cultural fishing across the state.

NSWALC also supports the Committee’s recommendations relating to reviewing the culture and regulatory practice of DPI and the need for better training of fisheries officers. NSWALC advocates for the full implementation of Priority Reform 3 of the Closing the Gap National Agreement – transforming government agencies.

“Aboriginal peoples are holders of specific Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Traditional Fishing Knowledge accumulated over millennia. We are supportive of the sustainable management of fish stocks – this is Caring for Country, and self-regulation, which has been occurring for thousands of years. We need to be able to exercise these practices without fear of being targeted and harassed,” Cr Chapman said.

NSWALC supports the commencement of s.21AA. NSWALC will further consider recommendations relating to regulation.

  • Transcripts and more information on the Parliamentary Inquiry on the Commencement of the Fisheries Management Amendment 2009 are available here
  • NSWALC’s Submission to the Inquiry, with further context, is available here.

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