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. Read more about commercial fishing licences.

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 or 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.

For more information, go to the AMSA website.

Before your apply

Before you apply for a FTO or guide licence, call 08 8999 2372 to discuss licensing conditions and requirements and how pending changes to the FTO process might affect you.

How to apply

To apply for a licence you must follow these steps:

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

FTO application PDF (64.2 KB)

FTO application DOCX (52.4 KB).

Step 2. Attach copies of:

  • appropriate marine qualifications
  • $10 million minimum third party liability insurance
  • senior first aid certificate.

Step 3. Provide proof of identity eg. 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 application and supporting documents to NT Fisheries by email, fax, mail or in person:

By mail, email or fax

Fisheries Licensing
Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
GPO Box 3000
Darwin NT 0801

Fax: 08 8999 2057

In person

Fisheries Licensing
Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
33 Vaughan Street
Berrimah NT 0828

Documents you may need

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.

Logbook returns and reporting grids

FTOs must submit a logbook return for each commercial guided fishing trip they conduct.

How to submit your logbook return

You can choose to submit your logbook by mail or online:


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

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


Use the online fishing tour guide logbook system.


For information about logbook returns or if you have any issues or questions about the new system, call 08 8999 2189 or email

Guided fishing industry contact

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

Blane Simmons

GPO Box 387
Nightcliff NT 0814

Mobile: 0400 703 300

Last updated: 21 September 2022

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