Indigenous fishing permit - Queensland


An indigenous fishing permit (or IFP) allows an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person or community to trial a commercial fishing activity without having to initially acquire commercial fishing authorities.

An IFP is generally granted for 1 to 3 years. If you want to continue to operate after this period, you'll need to buy or lease the necessary authorities on the open market, and operate as a standard commercial fisher. 

Service type


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

Eligibility requirements

What you need to apply for an IFP

You need to fill out an IFP application form, and provide:

A business plan that sets out the main elements of your proposed fishing operation, for example:

  • area in which you intend to fish
  • species of fish you intend to harvest (contact Fisheries Queensland at 13 25 23 before you submit an application to find out what species is unlikely to receive an IFP, or if any IFP quota is available)
  • your arrangements for marketing the catch
  • size of the boat you'll be using
  • how you'll obtain the necessary finance, equipment and training
  • what plans you have for acquiring a commercial fishing licence (expected to be within 1 to 3 years).

Proof that you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, for example a certificate of Aboriginality, or a statement from an Aboriginal land council or community organisation that you:

  • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person 
  • are accepted by the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island community in which you live.

How your application will be assessed

The factors we consider when making a decision about an IFP include:

  • the species you proposed to harvest, their stock status and any sustainability concerns
  • existing management arrangements for the species or fishery (e.g. quota species)
  • other IFPs issued for a particular fishery or area 
  • the merit of the applicant, including the business case and previous fishing experience.

Our first consideration is to ensure the sustainability of fisheries resources.

How long does an application take? 

We aim to assess applications within 3 months. However this will depend on the complexity of the application and how much information you have provided. An IFP is considered a future act under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). The future act notification process takes a minimum of 35 days, which will start after all required information is provided. 

Other requirements for operating under an IFP 

Existing rules that apply to commercial fishing, also apply under an IFP. These may include catch logbooks, telephone reporting, vessel tracking, gear restrictions, seasonal closures, area closures and size limits. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning restrictions and commercial vessel registration regulations also apply.

The process for issuing IFPs is currently under review

The management of Queensland's fisheries are being reviewed as part of the Government's 10-year Sustainable fisheries strategy. Actions under this strategy include setting sustainable catch limits for key fish stocks and harvest strategies for all fisheries by 2020.

The strategy also commits to develop an Indigenous commercial fishing development policy to support Indigenous economic development in a way that supports sustainable fishing.

The current IFP process will be reviewed as part of this initiative and will consider the fisheries-related economic development aspirations of Indigenous communities.

Find more information on the Sustainable fisheries strategy.


Native Title rights and interests


An IFP doesn't affect your existing native title rights and interests. However, you can't sell product that was taken under native title rights, and the product is not part of the IFP. Often, there are further restrictions on an IFP to prevent traditional fishing and commercial fishing taking place at the same time under an IFP.

What if the proposed fishing activity is not currently a commercial fishery?


IFP applications relate to existing commercial fisheries only. If your application relates to a new fishing activity this will need to be assessed under the Developmental Fishing Policy. Contact Fisheries Queensland at 13 25 23 if you are unsure whether your application is a valid IFP.


No fee applies for this permit.

Other resources

Application process

Contact the agency prior to applying for this permit to find out about the information required for the application.

Application can be made by submitting a completed application for an Indigenous fishing permit application with the additional information outlined above.

Transfer process

You cannot transfer this permit.

Administering agency

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Fisheries Queensland

Licensing and Fisheries Information

Contact details

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

Please use these contact details for help or more information:

Customer Service Centre

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Phone: 07 3404 6999
Phone: 13 25 23
Website: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Customer Service Centre (Opens in new window)