Rules for indigenous fishers recognise the important cultural role fishing plays for many communities. They also acknowledge the need to protect fish stocks for future generations.
Rules introduced on 6 October 2008 provide a balance between fisheries sustainability and indigenous traditional fishing rights.
Indigenous people can possess commercial fishing nets which are up to 80 m long and 50 mm-215 mm (2 inch-8.25 inch) mesh size. However, the use of commercial fishing nets without an authority is prohibited under the Fisheries Act 1994.
Recreational fishing nets that can be used without an authority are:
- cast nets no longer than 3.7 m with a mesh size of no more than 28 mm
- seine nets no longer than 16 m, drop no more than 3 m, mesh size no more than 28 mm, do not contain a pocket and are not fixed.
For further information on the type of apparatus permitted, see the Recreational fishing rules and regulations for Queensland - a brief guide. A copy of this guide can be found at certain bait and tackle stores.
In addition to recreational fishing apparatus, fish traps can be used by indigenous people to catch fish. Fish traps are defined as 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 indigenous communities to define other types of apparatus as necessary.
Gender limits, size limits, possession limits and season closures do not apply to indigenous 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 400 m downstream of the barrage
- Swan Bay, North Stradbroke Island
- Keppel Bay within 150 m radius of Middle Island underwater Observatory
- Wolf Rock (east of Double Island Point)
- Hook Island within 100 m radius of Observatory
- Mary River 400 m downstream of the barrage
- Yanks Jetty at Orpheus Island-under or within 100 m of jetty
- Tinana Creek 400 m downstream of the barrage
- Centenary Lakes, Cairns
- Burnett River 400 m downstream of the barrage
- Barron River at Barron Waters (near Stony Creek and junction of Camp Oven Creek)
- Kolan River 400 m downstream of the barrage
- Bizant River, Princess Charlotte Bay-including German Bar Lagoon and 2 km downstream of German Bar