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General fisheries permit for Indigenous netting activities - Queensland


You will need this permit to carry out traditional Indigenous netting activities with a commercial net. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people can possess commercial fishing nets which are up to 80m long and 50mm-215mm (2 inch-8.25 inch) mesh size. However, the use of commercial fishing nets without an authority is prohibited under the Act.

Recreational fishing nets that can be used without an authority are:

  • cast nets no longer than 3.7m with a mesh size of no more than 28mm
  • seine nets no longer than 16m, drop no more than 3m, mesh size no more than 28mm, do not contain a pocket and are not fixed.

In addition to recreational fishing apparatus, fish traps can be used by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people to catch fish. A fish trap is a structure made predominantly from stone or organic material that creates a holding area designed to capture a small quantity of fish.

Fisheries Queensland will work with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities to define other types of apparatus as necessary.

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.

Eligibility requirements

Permit conditions are designed to ensure the nets do not pose a hazard to boating and to ensure the nets are not used in a way that threatens the sustainability of fish stocks. The following conditions will apply to Indigenous netting activities:

  • the nets must not be used to take species protected under other legislation (e.g. turtles and dugongs)
  • the permit holder must be within 100m and on or in the water of each net being used at all times.

The nets:

  • may be set (anchoring or fixing the net to a place at both ends)
  • must be clearly marked with the permit holder's name, address and permit number on a white float at least 15cm in all its dimensions
  • must not be placed across the width of creeks or rivers, navigation channels or any other areas where the placement of the net would make more than one half of the waterway impassable to a boat or fish
  • must not be joined together
  • if used by day, must be marked by light coloured floats no more than 15m apart along its length; and if used by night, must also be marked by a white light at both ends of the net which is visible for at least 400m in all directions.

The holder, or an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person of the traditional owner group acting under the direction of the permit holder, must not allow any part of the net containing a fish to be out of the water other than to immediately remove the fish from the net.

Fish collected during the activity must not be sold.

The permit must be available for immediate inspection by an officer authorised under the Act during netting activities.

Gender limits, size limits, possession limits and season closures do not apply to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who are fishing in their traditionally owned waters or in waters where they have obtained permission from the traditional owners. Waters which are closed to all forms of fishing (commercial, recreational and Indigenous) for sustainability reasons are:

  • Coombabah Lake and Coombabah Creek
  • Fitzroy River 400m downstream of the barrage
  • Swan Bay, North Stradbroke Island
  • Keppel Bay within 150m radius of Middle Island underwater Observatory
  • Wolf Rock (east of Double Island Point)
  • Hook Island within 100m radius of Observatory
  • Mary River 400m downstream of the barrage
  • Yanks Jetty at Orpheus Island-under or within 100m of jetty
  • Tinana Creek 400m downstream of the barrage
  • Centenary Lakes, Cairns
  • Burnett River 400m downstream of the barrage
  • Barron River at Barron Waters (near Stony Creek and junction of Camp Oven Creek)
  • Kolan River 400m downstream of the barrage
  • Bizant River, Princess Charlotte Bay-including German Bar Lagoon and 2km downstream of German Bar.


Fees Details for this service in table format.

Task Type Business Structure Description
Apply Application All

You do not need to pay any fees.


Other resources

Task Business Structure Resources
General All Fishing permits (Opens in new window)

Application process


Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people wanting to use a commercial sized net to take fish for a ceremonial or traditional event, must apply for a general fisheries permit (an authority). You can apply for this permit by submitting the completed application to Fisheries Queensland. Please note that a commercial sized net can only be used for Indigenous purposes if the application form and requirements as set out below are fully completed, and a permit is subsequently issued.

The following information must be supplied in your application:

  • traditional owner group, to which the applicant belongs
  • number of nets to be used
  • location where nets will be used
  • dates when the nets will be used
  • the nature of the cultural or ceremonial event that requires the use of a commercial net and the number of people attending the event
  • proof of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage (e.g. letter of confirmation obtained from an incorporated Indigenous organisation and stamped with their common seal - this is required for the first application only)
  • written support from the traditional owners of the area supporting the use of the nets.

Transfer process


You cannot transfer this permit.

Approval time

Up to 30 business days

Administering agency

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Fisheries Queensland

Contact details

Contact Email, Phone and Address Details for this service in simple two column table format, header then data.