Update on Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Regulation

15 October 2015 

Update on Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Regulation

As advised last week, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has released a draft Regulation outlining proposed restrictions on Aboriginal cultural fishing. The proposed changes are outlined in a Network Message and Fact Sheet distributed by NSWALC on 8 October.

NSWALC has now prepared a comparison table outlining the proposed changes in further detail.

The table provides a comparison between:

  • The proposed the daily limits outlined in the draft Fisheries Management (General) Amendment (Aboriginal Cultural Fishing) Regulation 2015 (draft Regulation ) and
  • Thecurrent daily limits as per the Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Interim Access. 

Of the 84 species or groups of species compared, the daily bag/possession limits are proposed to be reduced for 49. These are indicated in red in the table.

NSWALC is concerned that the proposed Regulation undermines Aboriginal people's rights and interests and has been seeking for the NSW Government to commence section 21AA of the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW) (FMA) as a matter of priority.

Section 21AA of the Fisheries Management Act

Section 21AA of the FMA was passed by the NSW Parliament in 2009 but has not commenced operation yet. Section 21AA would authorise an Aboriginal person practicing Aboriginal cultural fishing to take fish despite the bag limits on taking and possessing fish.

This means that an Aboriginal person practicing Aboriginal cultural fishing would not be committing an offence if they took or had in their possession amounts of fish over the limits prescribed in sections 17 and 18 of the FMA.  The NSW Government have previously outlined that it wishes to apply limits on Aboriginal cultural fishing before commencing this key amendment.

DPI meetings

As advised last week, DPI will be holding four meetings in October to discuss the draft Regulation.

The remaining meetings are as follows: 

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

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

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

Have your say

DPI is seeking feedback on the proposed Regulation by 9 November 2015.

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