Blue Mud Bay decison

Dear NTGFIA Member

Herewith some aspects of the Blue Mud Bay decison – current as of the date of this posting.

1. The decision relates to all land granted under the NT Aboriginal Land Rights Act. It relates only to the NT because it is only in the NT that land has been granted to aborigines down to low tide mark. The Government is currently working at producing a map which shows the areas to which the decision applies. Most – but not all – the land grants in the NT were made under the NT Land Rights Act.

2. The decision states that the NT Fisheries Act does not apply in the inter-tidal zone/water column. The inter-tidal water column is not confined to the sea/beach front but extends up to tidal limits in all tidal estuaries and watercourses.

3. The Northern Land Council has stated it will bring in a permit/licence system to preserve the status quo. All Fisheries licence holders will be granted (at no cost) a permit/licence which will enable them to continue fishing the column as before. The permit/licence will cover all personnel on the boat irrespective whether they are crew friends or clients. IE FTOS WILL NOT HAVE TO APPLY FOR REC FISHING LICENCES FOR THEIR CLIENTS OR THEIR FRIENDS ABOARD THEIR VESSELS. FTO permits will be granted automatically. Every one who currently holds an FTO licence will be granted a NLC permit.

4. Individual recreational fishermen will have to apply for a permit. How and where is yet to be determined.

5. Where access to the column is by sea all permits/licences will remain in force up to the time of the High Court appeal, which could be months or years away. Where access to the column is overland (ie through aboriginal land) a separate permit will be required by rec fishers each time access is sought. This is consistent with the current rules for entry on aboriginal land.

Permit Map

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Lloyd Browne
Exec Officer NTGFIA