Fishing by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people covers the full spectrum of fishing practices: customary, recreational and commercial.
There is a good deal of commonality in the economic, environmental and social factors affecting the three sectors of the fishing industry. Some comments in the discussion of the commercial and recreational sectors therefore apply to the indigenous sector.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have developed a close, interdependent relationship with the land, water and living resources of Australia through customary fishing practices over tens of thousands of years. That relationship includes indigenous rights and responsibilities of particular indigenous groups to particular areas of land, water and resources.
Recently the Australian Government endorsed principles on indigenous fishing that will encourage the protection of traditional fishing practices while supporting greater involvement of indigenous communities in marine management.
The scope for indigenous commercial participation includes new and established sectors of the fishing industry, including aquaculture as well as the charter industry and other emerging opportunities in fisheries related tourism and recreation.
In 2012 the FRDC established an Indigenous Reference Group to help bring together a Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, Development and Extension Plan.