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 you apply for a fishing tour operator or guide licence, call 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 application 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:

  • 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
Berrimah Farm
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 and use the fishing grid maps PDF (1.5 MB).

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.


Use an electronic fishing tour operator log form.


For more information about logbook returns, call 08 8999 2189 or email

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

Dennis Sten

GPO Box 3385
Darwin NT 0801

Mobile: 0448 484 207

Last updated: 28 September 2020

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