Legislation and management

Fisheries Management Act 1994

The Fisheries Management Act 1994 (the Act) is the principal piece of legislation for managing the NSW fishery resource. The Act ensures that the fishing needs and traditions of Aboriginal people are appropriately captured in the management of fisheries resources. Objects of the Act include;

  • Recognising the spiritual, social and customary significance of the fisheries resource to Aboriginal people, with the aim to protect, and promote the continuation of Aboriginal cultural fishing.

Consistent with the Act’s objectives:

  • Cultural fishing has been defined; specific cultural fishing authority arrangements for extended access to fisheries resources are in place; and the Aboriginal Fishing Advisory Council ensures that Aboriginal people are engaged and assisting  with the management of the fisheries resource at a strategic level.

Daily cultural fishing needs are currently provided for by the Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Interim Access Arrangement (PDF, 219.53 KB), which allows for extended bag and possession limits, as well as other special arrangements, for cultural fishing activities .

Section 37 of the Act provides ability to extend cultural fishing access further, including access to areas normally not open to fishing activity and use of equipment that is not normally available to be used due to restrictions.

Other legislation applies alongside the cultural fishing rules. For example, the size limits of fish as prescribed in the Fisheries Management (General) Regulation 2019 apply to Aboriginal cultural fishing activities.

Other relevant legislation includes: