Traditional Inhabitant Boat Licence

Torres Strait traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence

Traditional inhabitants can fish commercially on any boat that has a Torres Strait traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence.

Only traditional inhabitants can own and use this type of licence. One or more of the following fishery symbols can appear on a Torres Strait traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence:

  • beche-de-mer fishery (BD)
  • crab fishery (CB)
  • tropical rock lobster fishery (CR)
  • reef line fishery (LN)
  • Spanish mackerel fishery (MK)
  • pearl shell fishery (PL)
  • trochus fishery (TR).

Currently, maximum boat lengths apply to new applications for this type of licence in the following fisheries:

  • beche-de-mer fishery (maximum boat length of 7m)
  • crab fishery (maximum boat length of 14m).

Traditional inhabitant identification

Applicants for a traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence must first be recognised as traditional inhabitants by lodging a Torres Strait Traditional Inhabitants ID form.

The identification form must be completed by the councillor of a relevant community and the mayor of the same council. Relevant communities are those that are represented by the following councils:

Apply for a new Torres Strait traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence

Traditional inhabitant fishing boat licences are issued to individual traditional inhabitants for 12 months and are renewable each year. To apply for a new licence you need to lodge a TIB Application form.

You can also use this application form to:

  • renew an existing Torres Strait traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence
  • add fishery symbols to an existing Torres Strait traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence
  • apply to record a different boat on an existing Torres Strait traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence.

Transfer a Torres Strait traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence

Traditional inhabitant fishing boat licences are also transferable (i.e. they can be bought and sold between traditional inhabitants). Both the transferor and the transferee must sign a Transfer of fish processor.

If you are the new licence-holder, you must also be the owner of the boat recorded on the licence. If your boat is not recorded on the licence, you will also need to lodge a TIB Application form at the same time you lodge the transfer application.

Attach a new boat to a Torres Strait traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence

The boat being used for the fishing, processing and/or carrying activities must be recorded on the relevant traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence.

To use a boat other than the one recorded on your licence; you will need to lodge a TIB application form.

The new boat cannot be used until your application has been processed, and the new boat has been recorded on your licence.

There are restrictions regarding the size of boats that can be recorded on licences with various fishery symbols. For more information about the boat replacement policies, please contact AFMA Direct 1300 723 671.

Renew a Torres Strait traditional inhabitant fishing boat licence

Renewal applications are automatically sent to licence holders approximately 6-8 weeks before the licence expires.

If you need to renew an existing licence, but have not received your renewal application, contact AFMA Direct 1300 723 671.

Sunset fishing boat licences are only issued to the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA).

Each year the TSRA identifies non-traditional inhabitants who want to operate in these fisheries. The TSRA and the interested parties then apply to the Protected Zone Joint Authority to have the sunset fishing boat licences temporarily transferred for all or part of a fishing season.