The Torres Strait Treaty was signed in December 1978 and entered into force in February 1985. It defines the border between Australia and Papua New Guinea and provides a framework for the management of the common border area. Both Australia and Papua New Guinea have liaison officers, based respectively at Thursday Island and Daru, who consult regularly on the implementation of the Treaty at the local level.
There are two main boundaries described by the Treaty. They are:
- the Seabed Jurisdiction Line. Australia has rights to all things on or below the seabed south of this line and Papua New Guinea has the same rights north of the line.
- the Fisheries Jurisdiction Line. Australia has rights over swimming fish south of this line and Papua New Guinea has the same rights north of the line. The two countries have agreed under the Treaty to share these rights.
1. makes sure that commercial fishing in the Protected Zone is in harmony with traditional fishing.
2. provides for commercial fishing by both Australia and Papua New Guinea.
3. includes arrangements for the sharing of commercial catch.
4. allows both countries to work together in licensing and policing as well as in the preservation, protection and management of fisheries.