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.

Indigenous Reference Group

In 2012 the FRDC established an Indigenous Reference Group to help bring together a Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, Development and Extension Plan. Contact details for the group are available on the Advisory Groups Page.

Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey of Australia

In May 2000 the National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey of Australia (NRIFS) was commenced and ran for twelve months through a screening survey and diary survey of intending fishers. This survey provides a good summary of Recreational and Indigenous fishing In Australia. To view the survey visit National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey of Australia.

Ethical and effective research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

When planning, undertaking and communicating research, development & extension with in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples it is essential to understand that they have their own protocols, and that these must be observed, understood, respected and engaged with as an essential, ongoing part of the research process.

More information is available on the Ethical and effective research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples page.

Images and Names of Deceased People

Please be aware that this site may contain the names or images of deceased people. The FRDC strives to treat Indigenous culture and beliefs with respect. We acknowledge that to some communities, it is distressing and offensive to show images of people who have died.