A new approach to managing cultural fishing will be trialled in the Tweed region over the next two years by the NSW Government, in partnership with the local Aboriginal community.

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest MP said the commencement of the Tweed Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Local Management Plan reflects the need and desire for local Aboriginal communities to have greater input into cultural fisheries management at a local level.  

“The development of the Tweed Local Management Plan has been an extensive and iterative process of consultation with Traditional Owners and the broader local Aboriginal community,” Mr Provest said.  

“We acknowledge the differences between Aboriginal communities and their cultural fishing needs and aspirations across NSW, which is why the Local Management Plan approach is being trialled to address specific needs at a community level. 

“The Local Management Plan addresses the areas of fishing and fishing equipment to be used (e.g., line, traps, nets), species of fish, including those of particular cultural significance, take and possession limits and how the community will be directly involved in management of the trial and management of cultural fishing. 

“The NSW Government recognises the significance of fisheries resources to Aboriginal communities across the state and this trial will assist in informing the best way to protect and promote cultural fishing access going forward.” 

Mr Provest said the needs and aspirations of the Tweed Aboriginal community have been captured through the engagement process and considered in finalising management arrangements in the plan.  

“The Local Management Plan will test the effectiveness of a customised cultural fishing management framework that recognises the need for Aboriginal community to access the fisheries resources in pursuit of their cultural practices,” Mr Provest said.  

“Evaluation of this project over the two-year trial will inform future decisions about how Aboriginal cultural fishing in NSW is managed into the future.”  

A Local Management Plan is a collective of arrangements that provides access to fisheries resources for a local Aboriginal community in pursuit of their cultural practices. It also presents communities with the opportunity for involvement in fisheries management.  

Across all other areas of NSW, cultural fishing practices are being supported by:

  • the Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Interim Access Arrangements, which enable higher cultural take and possession limits for all species. These arrangements enable at least double the existing recreational fishing limits for cultural fishing, with some species such as Abalone having five times the recreational limit.
  • Issuing of permits under Section 37 of the Fisheries Management Act 1994 for higher harvest levels to occur for culturally important community events, education and training. Over 140 permits have been issued for cultural fishing activities in NSW since 2010.
  • Supporting projects to foster cultural and commercial fishing and Aboriginal community economic development activities funded by the Aboriginal Fishing Trust Fund. Since the first funding round in 2017/18, 28 projects have been funded out of the Aboriginal Fishing Trust Fund.
  • Supporting programs to foster and protect cultural practices through the Marine Estate Management Strategy. The Government has invested just under $20 million to support the continuation of cultural practices and economic development outcomes in the NSW marine estate since the commencement of the Marine Estate Management Strategy in 2018.

For more information, visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/aboriginal-fishing