Coastal line fishery and licences

You must have a licence to line fish commercially in coastal waters in the Northern Territory (NT).


The coastal line fishery is restricted to 52 licences, all of which are already allocated.

Licences can be bought, sold and leased.

Read more about buying, selling or leasing a commercial licence.

Fishing area

You can fish along the NT coast between the high water mark and 15 nautical miles out from the low water mark. Special restrictions apply in the western zone.

The western zone extends from the Western Australian border to Vashon Head on Cobourg Peninsula, in the NT.

You are not allowed to fish in reef fish protection areas. Read more about reef fish protection areas.

Access is also restricted around registered Aboriginal sacred sites and protected areas. Visit the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority website for more information about these areas.

Fishing methods

You may use the following fishing methods or equipment:

  • vertical lines, cast nets, scoop nets or gaffs can be used from the high water mark out to 15 nautical miles from the low water mark
  • drop lines and up to five fish traps can be used from two to 15 nautical miles out from the low water mark
  • up to five hooks per vertical line and up to 40 hooks per drop line.

Fish traps can't be used in the western zone.


Black jewfish and golden snapper are the main species taken in the coastal line fishery.

The total catch in the western zone is limited to 145 tonnes of jewfish and 4.5 tonnes of golden snapper. Quotas are allocated to licence holders who have access to the zone. 

Quotas are fully transferable. Fishers that are not allocated quota can lease or purchase it on the open market.

Byproduct species include emperors, cods and other snappers.

Last updated: 11 February 2016

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