Important parts of the final agreement have yet to be finalized, including an agreement between the NT government and the fishing sector to help traditional owners enter the commercial fishing and tourism industry. The agreement calls on the territory government to cooperate in the development and implementation of a law amending the Fisheries Act, the extension of Aboriginal coastal licences and the guarantee of commitment to Aboriginal capacity building programmes. $10 million will also be allocated to fund the creation of an Aboriginal-owned fishing centre. “It was a bit disappointing that we didn`t have the progress we all hoped for when we had a real steam head around the head of the agreement,” Ciaravolo said. David Ciaravolo, CEO of the NT Amateur Fishermen`s Association (AFANT), said he welcomed the agreement on the action plan. Traditional owners, the NT government and the three fishing sectors have signed an agreement that will ensure free access to coastal waters for the next 18 months. The NT government, the NT Seafood Council, the Amateur Fishermen`s Association (AFANT) and the Guided Fishing Industry Association signed an agreement that promised traditional owners that the 2008 High Court decision in Blue Mud Bay would finally give them real benefits. Since the 1970s, the Aboriginal country had been granted outdoors for the low-water brand of the coast. The Aborigines had to negotiate new licensing agreements with white commercial fishers on fishing in the tidal zone and in the rivers, a task that elicited mixed feelings on both sides. The agreement committed to bringing real benefits to traditional owners and compromised with commercial and recreational fishers. Mr.
Christopherson said it was assumed that there would be an agreement that would cover the entire coastline. The agreement, signed at the NLC General Assembly in Katherine, also outlined areas that will need to be agreed by the groups over the next 18 months to ensure that fishermen will not be excluded from the majority of the territory in the future. “It`s not about putting dollar figures on the solutions that lie ahead. It is important that we all agree on a path of cooperation,” she said. In addition, this means that commercial fishers cannot enter the Aboriginal country without authorization, which means that they cannot fish there either. Since the decision, the NT government has managed and regulated fishing in the area through temporary fishing permits for commercial operators and recreational fishers. The Northern Land Council (NLC) has committed to allow unrestricted access to Northern Territory Native waters by December 2022. The Bundesgerichtshof ruled that subsidies under the Land Rights Aborigine (NT) Act limited commercial fishing to the low-water mark, but did not grant the right to exclude fishing in tidal waters (i.e. up to the flood mark) . “The second step in the action plan is the creation of an Aboriginal shipping society. This facility will facilitate the participation of traditional owners in the fish and seafood industry.
The focus will be on how we manage these fisheries sustainably so that they are available for future generations. Paul Kirby, NT`s fisheries minister, said the government may not be prepared to change the fisheries law until next year, which means the changes may take some time.