Trepang fishery and licences

Trepang is more commonly known as sea cucumber in the Northern Territory (NT).

You must have a trepang licence to commercially fish for sea cucumber in the NT.


The fishery is restricted to six licences which can be bought, sold and leased. All are currently allocated.

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

Fishing area

Commercial fishing for sea cucumber is allowed from the high water mark to three nautical miles seaward from the territorial sea baseline. Go to the Australian Government Geoscience website for more information.

Most sea cucumbers are collected along the Arnhem Land coast, mainly around the Cobourg Peninsula and Groote Eylandt.

Fishing method

Trepang are harvested by hand either on foot or by diving, usually on neap tides during the dry season when the water is clearer.

Read more about the commercial trepang fishery in the Fisheries Regulations 1992.


Sandfish are the primary species of sea cucumber taken.

No bycatch species are taken due to the hand selection method.

Ecological risk assessment

In February 2021, an ecological risk assessment was carried out into the trepang fishery.

The report identifies:

  • which species, habitats and communities are at risk from fishing
  • issues that must be further managed.

To find out more, read the risk assessment.

Trepang fishery ecological risk assessment PDF (657.6 KB)
Trepang fishery ecological risk assessment DOCX (423.4 KB).

Last updated: 17 June 2021

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