Why You Should Always Check Your State’s Fishing Rules and Regulations

Posted by Jane Clothier on 8 January, 2016

australian states fishing rules regulationsBefore you head out for some fishing this summer, make sure you’re fully up to date with the State’s rules and regulations. These are quite complex and are updated regularly, covering fishing permit and licence requirements, bag and size limits for different species, protected species, closed waters and closed season, and more.


This is particularly important if you’re travelling interstate for a holiday. NSW, VIC and WA require recreational fishers to have licences, while QLD, SA and the NT don’t. These are not expensive, but, contribute to projects to maintain and preserve the country’s diverse marine and freshwater species.

New South Wales

In NSW, the focus is primarily on the bag limit and size limits. A daily bag limit is in place for non-protected species, whether it's a single species or mixed bag. There is also a possession limit, which is the maximum number of fish you may have at any one time – on the boat and in the freezer at home. Take special note if you’re planning to fish for more than a day.


The licence fee contributes to research and conservation, with the NSW Research Angler Program involving up to 1 million NSW recreational fishers in collecting information.


Read more about NSW rules and regulations.


Victoria goes furthest in its commitment to recreational fishing, with the State Government committed to delivering its “Target One Million” plan, to get more residents fishing more often. Each year, licence revenue goes to projects that will improve recreational fishing in the state.


In fact, since 2001, the Recreational Fishing Grants Program (RFGP) has funded over 600 projects, worth more than $21M.


You can download free hard copy guides, as well as Apps, with more VIC information here.

Western Australia

WA has a large website dedicated to fishing in the State, which appears to be highly promoted, because recreational fishing is enjoyed by a third of the population along 12,800km of coastline.


The licence fee helps to support fishing research and you are invited to donate fish frames to help long term monitoring of fish stocks. You can even win a prize.


Guides and e-newsletters are available on the WA Fisheries site.


Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory don’t require fishing licenses however there are fishing regulations in place to maintain this important ecostructure well into the future.


Even without a licence, you are still expected to fish responsibly. QLD presents us with an extensive ‘no take’ list, as well as special rules relating to fishing near the world heritage status coral reefs.


You’re also asked to be aware of tagged fish that are involved in scientific research programs designed to better understand fish movement, growth and survival rates. If one is taken, you are asked to inform the program, free of charge.


QLD fishing rules and regulations are available as a downloadable PDF guide and also as an app.

South Australia 

No licence is required, yet the SA website has a very strong focus on enforcing rules and regulations.


A positive aspect is the FISHCARE volunteer program, which raises awareness about protecting and preserving marine and freshwater resources at a community level.


Guides are available as a series of downloadable PDFs and also an app, with more SA information here.

Northern Territory

While you do not need a fishing licence in the territory, you will need permits to enter intertidal waters that lie over Aboriginal land. It is important to respect and recognise the cultural importance of these waters to traditional owners.

There are also new measures in place to protect ‘at risk’ reef fish, covering possession limits and defining reef fish protection areas.

You can read more NT information here.


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