The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) recognises the innate connection between waterways and the cultural identity and wellbeing of Aboriginal people, including the importance of cultural fishing practices to Aboriginal communities. Fishing and access to the many and varied water resources has always been a critical element of the relationship between Aboriginal people and their traditional country.
The NSW Government supports the rights of Aboriginal cultural fishers and is actively working to support Aboriginal cultural fishing within a sustainable natural resource management framework. To achieve this, DPI is partnering with the Hastings and Tweed coastal communities to trial a new approach to cultural fishing management that will help inform the best way forward to protect, preserve and promote cultural fishing into the future.
This localised approach will trial the use of Local Management Plans (LMPs). A LMP is a set of arrangements that provides access to fisheries resources for a local, place-based Aboriginal community in pursuit of their cultural practices. It also presents an opportunity for Aboriginal community involvement in fisheries management including aspects of self-regulation.
Two trial LMPs for the Hastings and Tweed Aboriginal communities have been drafted through extensive community participation and will be evaluated to guide future management. The two areas were selected for the trial following advice from Aboriginal Fishing Advisory Council (AFAC) and initial meetings with communities to confirm their interest in the approach and willingness to participate.
The LMPs will trial alternative cultural fishing arrangements within specific areas for a period of two years. The trial approach will aim to facilitate greater engagement and involvement in the management of marine resources and cultural fishing activities for these two communities.
The trial LMPs will cover matters including:
For areas not covered by a LMP, the Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Interim Access arrangement (ACFIA) continues to apply for Aboriginal people seeking to exercise their cultural fishing. Applications, under section 37 of the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (the Act), will continue to provide authority to fish beyond what is provided for under the ACFIA.
The Birpai Barray (Hastings) and Tweed LMPs will establish localised management arrangements which provide appropriate access for cultural fishing and fisheries management. Supporting monitoring processes will be developed, taking into consideration culturally appropriate methodologies, to track performance of the LMPs over time. This means, communities will have appropriate information for monitoring and reporting on fishing activities and catch data to play an active role in decision-making on fisheries resource management for the area covered by their LMP.
The trial LMP applies to Aboriginal cultural fishing in the area defined within each plan and to those Aboriginal people covered by the respective plan.
Broad eligibility requirements include:
If you meet the criteria above and would like to understand more about how to register to participate in the LMP trials for Birpai Barray (Hastings) or Tweed, please contact your relevant Local Aboriginal Land Council (below) or the Department of Primary Industries:
Tweed Byron LALC
For Frequently Asked Questions click here (PDF, 784.71 KB) .
Restrictions around fishing apply to help ensure healthy, sustainable fisheries for future generations. Size limits allow fish to reach maturity and complete their breeding cycle, while bag limits help to make sure everyone gets a fair share and species are not overfished.
The NSW Government acknowledges that it stands on Aboriginal land. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land and we show our respect for elders past, present and emerging through thoughtful and collaborative approaches to our work, seeking to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to providing places in which Aboriginal people are included socially, culturally and economically.