In 2017/18, the Northern Territory’s fishing, aquaculture and associated processing industries contributed $136 million to the Northern Territory economy and 941 FTE jobs. In 2018/19 the Fishing, Hunting and Trapping sector alone contributed output of $117.8 million across the Northern Territory. In East Arnhem, the Fishing, Hunting and Trapping sector contributed output of $5.3 million.
In East Arnhem, for Yolŋu, land and sea are inseparably linked, with traditional owners having responsibility to manage the resources and environments of both their sea and land estates equally.
This provides significant opportunities to work with traditional owners, the Northern Land Council, the Northern Territory Government and the Northern Territory Seafood Council to explore future investment in commercial fishing partnerships.
Industries include wild catch, commercial aquaculture (fish farming) and recreational fishing. East Arnhem has a range of natural fish stock and resources that include mullet, barramundi, mud crabs, mackerel, oysters and trepang. With demand in seafood increasing across the globe, as well as gaps in supply to local and domestic markets, this signifies investment opportunities not only in commercial fisheries, but may also support several downstream activities such as fish processing and marine maintenance services.
Recreational fishing and fishing tourism
In 2018/19 support services for agriculture, forestry, and fishing contributed output of $10.4 million and $5.4 million of value add to the East Arnhem economy.
Recreational fishing including line fishing, diving and tourist fishing charters, and cruises represents a significant portion of the existing fishing activity in East Arnhem. The region has immense untapped potential for further development in differentiated fishing tourism products, including cultural tourism products and shared Yolŋu knowledge that could facilitate new entry fishing tourism businesses and tours. The surrounding waters offer attractive recreational species including snapper varieties, barramundi, red emperor, coral trout, giant trevally, tuna, marlin and more. Mud cubs and crayfish are also a local favourite.