Fishing in the NT:

Jobs, economy, community

Take a dive into the value of Recreational Fishing in the Territory…


As part of Gone Fishing Day celebrations and thanks to part of a Northern Territory Government Recreational Fishing Grant, AFANT have taken a deep dive to explore the benefits that recreational fishing brings to the Territory’s community.

Here we take a look at the economic value of recreational fishing and share some of the proud Territory businesses that support and are supported by the Territory’s 30,000 recreational fishers.

Recreational fishing underpins jobs in retail, marine services, manufacturing, tourism, fisheries, hospitality and more..


↓ click on the business to explore their story ↓

RECREATIONAL FISHING economic contribution….

Recreational fishing is not only central to the way of life for tens of thousands of Territorians, but it is also big business! A significant contributor to the Northern Territory economy,  fishing supports hundreds of jobs across a range of industries.  

While up-to-date figures (measured in 2019) are due to be published soon, way back in 2010 the NT Recreational Fishing Survey revealed that Territory residents spent over $50M on products and services directly related to recreational fishing activities1. When coupled with expenditure on guided fishing tours, it was estimated that in 2010 at least $80,000,000 was spent on recreational fishing in the NT2. While these figures are now overdue for update, the expenditure on and value of recreational fishing to the Territory economy is expected to be significantly higher. For example, discounting any growth over the past 10 years, the CPI adjusted expenditure value from 2009/10 is approximately $100M in today’s money3. 

The economic contribution of recreational fishing to the Northern Territory and the potential for the sector to grow further, was recognised in the Northern Territory Government’s $50M Rec Fishing Future investment. This commitment aims to support the sector and maintain the NT’s status as one of the worlds top fishing destinations through investments in strategic infrastructure and programs designed to grow and sustain the industry. 

The NT is the only jurisdiction in Australia where the fishing effort of visitors from interstate and overseas comes close to that of local fishers. While local fishers keep money in the Territory and contribute economically to the regions4, visiting fishers bring new money across the border. In the 2021 Fishing Segment Profile, NT Tourism estimated that 40% of fishing effort in the Territory was attributed to visiting anglers. These visitors mostly travelled to the NT specifically for the purpose of recreational fishing and contributed approximately $26M over the course of a year, with $15M of that spent directly with fishing tour operators (fishing guides)5 

The Million Dollar Fish competition will begin its seventh season in the last third of 2021. One of the biggest fishing competitions in the world, season six had close to 30,000 registered entrants with 25,000 active participants. According to commissioned research, season six of Million Dollar Fish generated an economic benefit (new money) of $11 million to the Top End, and an economic stimulus of $41.3 million for the Territory6 

Recreational fishing is one the Territory’s most popular past times with around a quarter of all locals and tens of thousands of visitors taking part. It’s little wonder that this all adds up to a lot of value and supports a range of jobs in retail, accommodation, fisheries, hospitality, and manufacturing, as well as in mechanical and marine services. Being sustainable and resilient, and with recent and planned investments including new access points and some the Australia’s largest and newest artificial reef complexes, the recreational fishing sector is set to grow and to continue to support regional development and the broader NT economy well into the future.  

  1.  NT Recreational Fishing Survey 2009-10, pp67-68  
  2. NT Recreational Fishing Development Plan 2012-202, p2 
  3. RBA Inflation Calculator  
  4. NT Recreational Fishing Development Plan, p2
  5. NT Tourism Fishing Segment Profile, 2012, p12
  6. MDF News  

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This