Don, Jimmy, Stuart and Andrew live on their outstations and have been fishing all their lives. They applied for Aboriginal Coastal Fishing Licences soon after the program started. These licences allow people to catch and sell fish on their traditional countries using prescribed fishing techniques. The local fishermen, whose outstations are serviced by the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation (BAC), asked us to assist them getting their small fishing businesses up and running.
We supported the local fishermen with the purchase of their first net, along with transport and logistics, and we are providing some ongoing support. The fishermen have also received training from NT Fisheries on the fishing techniques permitted with the licenses and how to appropriately meet transport and storage requirements.
The local fishermen commenced their fishing operations at Nardilmuk outstation, located 25 km from Maningrida. They use a 100 m long vertical net to catch blue-tail mullet, blue salmon, queen fish and trevally.
Nardilmuk fish are popular locally and in high demand at the Barlmarrk Supermarket. Don, Jimmy, Stuart and Andrew also supply the school, the aged-care centre and other organisations in Maningrida. After only a month of operation, the fisherman even had their first Darwin customers, and sent the fish off by plane. More and more young people are asking to go out fishing with the local fishermen.
With the profits made so far, the fishermen have invested in two additional nets and are looking forward to scaling up their operations and selling fish more regularly to Darwin and nearby communities.
There is great enthusiasm for the small enterprise, which could eventually allow the fishermen to work and live on their outstations and help to keep their country healthy.