Know your limits - Search recreational size, bag, boat and possession limits

Blue crab commercial fishing closure
A temporary closure is in place for the commercial blue swimmer crab fishery along the Adelaide coastline and on the eastern side of the Yorke Peninsula.
Media release
Closure map (PDF 302.0 KB)

Snapper fishing spatial closures

PIRSA has confirmed the continuation of five Snapper spatial closures from midday 15 December 2014 to midday 31 January 2015.
Media release
Closures map
Frequently asked questions
Catch and release fact sheet (PDF 326.9 KB)

Lakes and Coorong Draft Plan
The Draft Management Plan for the South Australian Commercial Lakes and Coorong Fishery has been released for public consultation until 4 February 2015.
Media release
Find out more

Changes to recreational rock lobster devices - Northern Zone
New arrangements are in place for recreational rock lobster devices used in the Northern Zone of the rock lobster fishery.
View media release
Frequently asked questions
View the fishing gear page

Port River Mud Cockle closure
The Port River Mud Cockle fishing closure has been extended until 30 June 2015 due to ongoing concerns about sustainability.
Map of closure area
Frequently asked questions
View media release 

Changes to commercial and recreational Blue Swimmer Crab fishing limits
View media release
Frequently asked questions
Map of reduction area

Spencer Gulf Cuttlefish closure
Cuttlefish fishing in northern Spencer Gulf has been closed until 15 February 2016.
Frequently asked questions

Map of closure area

Recreational shark fishing restrictions
Restrictions on targeted recreational shark fishing in metropolitan waters have been updated.
Find out more



GarfishHyporhamphus melanochir

What do they look like?

Southern Garfish are pale greenish blue on the back and upper sides, and have a broad, blue-edged silver band along the middle of the side. Garfish are distinguished from most other species by the large ‘bill’ or ‘beak’ on their lower jaw.

Another species, the River Garfish (Hyporhamphus regularis) is found in a few locations in South Australia. However, little is known of the biology of the species.

Where are they found?

Southern Garfish occur in southern Australian waters, from Victoria through Bass Straight and around Tasmania to through to south western Western Australia. DNA testing has shown that four genetically separate populations occur within its distribution: 

  • Western Australia
  • western South Australia
  • the South Australian gulfs / Victorian bays and
  • Tasmania

In South Australia they are found throughout gulf waters and sheltered bays on the west coast, Kangaroo Island and the south east coast. The extent of their offshore distribution is currently unknown, as no surface net fishery exists in these waters.

Life cycle

Southern Garfish are serial batch spawners, producing relatively few, but large eggs over its extensive spawning season. In South Australia the spawning season occurs from September to April. During that period, there are two distinct spawning peaks in November, December and February.  

Although only a few eggs have been found among seagrass beds in South Australian waters, there is a close relationship between garfish eggs and seagrass. The eggs of Garfish are adhesive and relatively large (2.5 to 3 mm diameter).

Research has shown that Garfish become sexually mature at a total length (measured from the tip of the upper jaw to the end of the caudal fin) of about 21 cm in approximately 18 months.  The maximum age of Garfish in South Australia is thought to be about 10 years.

Feeding habits

In the sheltered waters, garfish live among seagrass beds, as they feed during daylight hours on leaves of the seagrasses Zostera and Heterozostera. During the night, they prefer to feed on zooplankton throughout the water column.

Garfish are usually caught by recreational fishers in summer using light line, small hooks and a float.

Catch lengths and legal limits

A Garfish

Type of fish
Common name
Southern Garfish
Scientific name
Hyporhamphus melanochir
Minimum legal length:23 cm measured from tip of the upper jaw to the tip of the tail
Personal daily bag limit:60
Daily boat limit:180
Species information
More information about garfish.