Fishing tour operator licence

You must have a licence to run commercial guided fishing tours in the Northern Territory (NT).

You also need an authorisation known as an approved operator card. This includes recognition you are a fit and proper person to hold an authorisation. Go to the commercial fishing licences page to read more about getting an approved operator card.

Recreational fishing regulations apply to people on a guided fishing tour and none of their catch can be sold or bartered.

Read more about recreational fishing.

You should also find out about rules and current agreements for fishing on Aboriginal land.

Your vessel does not need to be registered but it must meet Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) rules. Go to the AMSA website for more information.


Before you apply for a fishing tour operator or guide licence, contact the aquatic resource manager on 08 8999 2372 to discuss licensing conditions and requirements and how pending changes to the fishing tour operator process might affect you.

To apply for a licence you must follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in the form and include details of your vessel and information about your current survey date and number.

Fishing tour operator application PDF (64.2 KB)
Fishing tour operator application DOCX (52.4 KB)

Step 2. Attach copies of all of the following:

  • appropriate marine qualifications
  • $10 million minimum third party liability insurance
  • Senior First Aid certificate.

Step 3. Provide proof of identity - driver licence or passport for an individual, certificate of incorporation for a corporation or current company search for a company showing names of company directors.

Step 4. Send the form and supporting documents to Fisheries Licensing by email, fax, mail or in person:


Fisheries Licensing
Department of Primary Industry and Resources
GPO Box 3000
Darwin NT 0801
Fax: (08) 8999 2057


Fisheries Licensing
Department of Primary Industry and Resources
Berrimah Farm
Goff Letts Building 
Makagon Road
Berrimah NT 0828

If you have your own vessel, you will need the appropriate vessel survey certification.

If you use a vehicle to pick up your guests or clients, you will need all of the following:

  • accreditation issued or approved by the NT Motor Vehicle Registry
  • NT Tourist Vehicle registration certificate
  • NT driver licence with an H endorsement.

Fishing tour operators must submit a logbook return for each commercial guided fishing trip they conduct.

Your logbook return must record the areas that were fished during the trip, using grid and subgrid numbers. Download the fishing grid maps PDF (1.5 MB).

How to submit your logbook return

You can choose to submit your logbook in one of the two following ways:


Return your paper logbook return to the Fisheries Licensing mail address above.


Use an electronic fishing tour operator log form.

Contact a data services officer

For more information about logbook returns contact (08) 8999 2189 or email

Contact the representative body for the guided fishing industry, the Northern Territory Guided Fishing Industry Association:

Mr Dennis Sten
0448 484 207

GPO Box 3385

Last updated: 25 June 2020

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