NT net free zones

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ronje
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NT net free zones

Post by ronje »

NT recreational fishermen are being steadily squeezed for access to fishing grounds.

They are pawns where the NLC, the NT Govt, commercial fishermen and fishing guides are all engaged in tactics relating to fishing access negotiations only benefitting themselves and nobody is looking after the interests of recreational fishers in the NT .

A well-known NT fisherman and resident is organising a push for net free zone/s in the NT.

How is it to be approached?

The NT fishing legislation has a Management Plan that deals with barramundi fishing. It’s called (strangely enough) the Barramundi Fishery Management Plan.

Section 8 of that plan prescribes where commercial fishing (net and/or line) can be carried out for barramundi. Those areas are called commercial fishing areas.

Section 8 also prescribes areas which are not included in the barramundi commercial fishing areas.

That area extends from the high tide mark at the bottom of Fog Bay around to the high tide mark of the Wildman River. The legislation simply nominates some imaginary lines at right angles to high water points at those places and declares waters on the landward side of the line that follows the shoreline at a distance of 3 n. miles as excluded from the commercial fishing zone.

It also refers to similar imaginary lines at rivers in between those two places (eg Finniss).

In places where NTO land claims have been granted and those claims adjoin the coastline, then the NTO land goes out to the low-tide mark.

Everywhere else, the protected area is measure from the high-tide mark.

That protected area extends for 3 nautical miles from the “shoreline”.

Recreational fishermens' claims are that:
• NT fishery enforcement is deficient in those water excluded from the commercial barramundi fishery;
• That confusion exists about who can do what barramundi fishing in waters adjoining NTO land; and
• What areas can and can't be accessed by recreational fishermen.

The Blue Mud Bay High Court decision is quite specific about the intertidal water. Its aboriginal land out to the low water mark.

So the push is to have the land protected by the NT fisheries plan, declared a Net Free Zone. Naturally, the low tide to high water mark zone that exists next to tibal land cannot be so declared but the rest of it (from the low tide mark out to 3 nautical miles can be so declared.

Having any area declared a net free zone is not an easy task and the proponent is well aware of that. He’s also a very determined person.

No barramundi licence buy-back system is involved because commercial barramundi guys can’t operate in the exluded zone anyway. However, commercial fishermen may already be net-fishing for other species in the excluded area and may be affected.

No native title holders will be disadvantaged as the proposal is not aimed at inter-tidal waters adjoining successful Commonwealth Govt NTO titled areas.

There are other areas which could be declared NFZs that are currently fished commercially and also not subject to NTO inter-tidal waters.

Currently, NTO title holders can negotiate “land” use agreements in respect of commercial barramundi fishermen and guiding operations in the inter-tidal zone even if its in the “no-commercial fishing zone” nominated by the NT fisheries.

Similar to fishing lodges that have negotiated land use agreements for exclusive access into land claim areas.

The proponets view is that if nobody is looking after your interests then sometimes you have to do it yourself.

Some of you may know of the NFZ move already. Most of you will certainly know (or know of) the proponet.

Most would be sure that AFANT would be be right behind the idea and will support it unequivocally.

Attached is the NT Barramundi Fishery Management Plan.

You'll note that the GPS locations for the lines are in Australian Metric Grid coordinates (AMG). Google Earth GPS can operate in AMG (Eastings and Northings).
Repf009R4 pdf.pdf
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Ronje
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Re: NT net free zones

Post by Matt Flynn »

I had been planning to convert those co-ord lines into mudmaps for readers (had requests) but it is a big job, not sure I'll ever get it done, and those old grid references are a pain.
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Re: NT net free zones

Post by theodosius »

I must be a bit thick, I don't follow what all this means
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Re: NT net free zones

Post by ronje »

If you can't follow what NFZs are all about, do a little research and I'm sure that it'll become clearer.

Knowing that we have such an animal where I live, the proponent asked me to give him some ideas of how it could be approachedto, what worked here and what some obstacles might be so I put up a sample mechanism of how one part of it could be done that involves existing barra netting.

There are other species that can be netted in the areas where barra can't be.

I won't be involved now 'cos I don't live in the NT and its for you guys to make yr own decisions and sort out if you want NFZs or not.

Good luck.
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Ronje
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Re: NT net free zones

Post by ronje »

Matt Flynn wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:23 pm I had been planning to convert those co-ord lines into mudmaps for readers (had requests) but it is a big job, not sure I'll ever get it done, and those old grid references are a pain.
The maps from which the coords in the Management Plan were taken were the 1:100,000 series (which were printed in 1982) and which used AGD 66 as a datum even though they were metric maps in Eastings and Northings.

GE uses wsg 84 (after the maps were printed) and as we know those 2 datums (84 and 66) have a few hundred metres difference.

So.. I'll get the 2 maps (Fog Bay and the one for Wildman R) and plot those points on those maps. Then convert them to WSG84 to put them on GE. Hopefully they'll then make sense.

Probably do the MacArthur R map as well as area in there is also excluded from commercial barra fishery.

Then send them to the proponent.
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Ronje
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Re: NT net free zones

Post by Fruity »

This is why the fishing in the Daly is poop, The netters flog the area outside of closure,Anson Bay at mouth of the Daly.
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Re: NT net free zones

Post by Matt Flynn »

Many thanks Ron, I'll put it all on here. Hope to do it this week.
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Re: NT net free zones

Post by stroma »

Matt/Ronje
FYI - Both the NT Seafood Council and NT Fisheries provide a list of the old AGD 66 coordinates converted into WGS84 upon request. The only issue is that they come with a disclaimer to say the AGD66 marks are used In the event of any legal action. In other words use the converted marks with caution.
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Re: NT net free zones

Post by stroma »

They also provide maps of all the closure lines.
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Re: NT net free zones

Post by ronje »

Thanks for that Stroma and you are correct about what's used if legal action ensues.

The NT Act Interpretation Act 1978 sheds no light on this particular subject so whatever is provided in the Fisheries Act applies. The Interpretation Act assists in defing what some defintitions in other acts are to be looked at.

This particulat Management Plan was advertised (as required) in the Gazette in 1998 but the last three pages of that gazette are missing. Those pages contain the necessary reference to the management plan ('cos the previous available pages are there).

The legislation that makes provision for the areas excluded from the commercial fishing areas under the Barramundi Fishery Management Plan uses location data from the Aus 1:100,000 maps printed in 1982 and therefore will indeed be AGD66. Converting AGD66 to WGS84 is easy.

Problems arise if one is going to rely on AGD66 data for accuracy. Several hundred metres error difference in position between datums just doesn't work. In addition, the thickness of a pencil line creates more differences in position in using those old scale maps. Cheaper for NT Fisheries (and everybody else) to accept the inaccuracies at that time instead of using 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 maps (more maps needed and costs increase).

There is no reason for inaccuracies like those introduced by AGD66 to remain on the legislation books in modern day NT.

Fisheries NT has had over 30 years to get rid of confusion caused by the use of that old datum system. Simply a very minor change to the management plan so the coordinates would work properly on Google Earth would have been so much simpler and logical. Yet they haven't done it.

Think about the logic and work involved in NT Fisheries printing up conversion tables and also maps showing the areas based on that old data instead of using converted data.

In respect of the barra fishery management plan, there are only 8-10 coordinates

By NT Fisheries making a very minor and simple amendment to the barramundi management plan (changing the AGD66 coordinates to WGS84) anybody with access to Google Earth could print the own maps accurately. All of the confusion would have disappeared 25 years ago. But they didn't 'cos public service culture is the same all over Aus. They want to be important and depended upon.

Any lines put up as part of a proposal to introduce more management areas these days would be in WGS84. So some of the legal NT closures would be AGD66 vintage and some would be WGS84 vintage.

It would make sense if ALL coordinates (vintage and modern) were in WSG84.

The NT public service culture would agree with consistency but they'd want to convert the new WSG84 data to AGD66 data claing a need to maintain consistency and conformity (but more likely their own importance).

This NFZ exercise (successful or otherwise) might end up being a wakeup call to NT Fisheries about who their customers really are.

Anyway, I'm sure the NFZ proposal/s will work all that out.
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Ronje
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