Charter boat fishery

From 1 December 2016, South Australian Charter fishing rules for some species are changing.

The new rules follow a State Government review of recreational fishing in South Australia undertaken earlier this year, including a review of the current size, bag and boat limits and management arrangements for some of the state’s most popular species.

Individual charter fishing limits and/or size limits for relevant species have been modified to be consistent with the changes to recreational bag limits.

For some species an individual passenger limit now applies, regardless of the number of fishers on the vessel. This is to allow individuals on a charter boat to access the recreational daily bag limit for individual species while fishing on a charter boat. Download South Australian Charter Boat Fishing Limits brochure (PDF 1.5 MB).

New King George Whiting changes

New arrangements to improve the stock status of one of the state’s most iconic and popular species, King George Whiting, are also being introduced.

These changes are:

  • Reduction in the individual passenger catch limit to 10.
  • Increase in the legal minimum size limit to 32 cm in all waters East of Cape Catastrophe on the tip of the Eyre Peninsula at 136 ̊ E (previously 31 cm).
  • Introduction of a spawning spatial closure for King George Whiting from 1-31 May in an area of southern Spencer Gulf, southern Gulf St Vincent and Investigator Strait to protect this key spawning area during a critical reproductive period. Download the King George Whiting spawning spatial closure map (PDF 403.0 KB). During this time, the take, targeting, and possession of King George Whiting by all fishing sectors (recreational, charter and commercial) is prohibited in the closure area. The first King George Whiting spawning spatial closure will commence 1 May 2017.

These arrangements have been introduced to improve the stock status of King George Whiting and manage the catch within each sectors allocated share. King George Whiting stocks in the Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent / Kangaroo Island regions are currently classified as ‘transitional-depleting’.

Charter boat fishery overview

Charter boat fishing is considered a commercial platform for recreational fishing. The charter boat fishery is managed through a licensing and registration system.

Charter boat fishing happens in South Australian marine waters and has bag, boat, size and trip limits. These might vary from limits that apply to individual fishers.


No new licences for charter boat fishing are currently being issued. Charter boat licences can be purchased from existing licence holders.


Charter boat fishery licences are issued for the term of the management plan. The current management plan is effective from August 2011 until 30 June 2021.


Commercial licence fees must be paid each financial year. Invoices are issued annually in June.

Payments can be made:

  • up-front
  • in a lump sum
  • in quarterly installments.

Licence transfer

Licences can be transferred from 1 person to another.

A joint application must be made by the:

  • holder of the charter boat fishing licence
  • transferee.

Use the Charter Boat Fishing Licence Transfer (PDF 395.5 KB) form.

Boat registration and de-registration

Every boat that is used for commercial fishing must be registered.

Use the application to vary a boat registration endorsement (PDF 249.9 KB) to register or de-register a boat.

Boat master registration

All people who act as a commercial fishing boat master must be registered by the licence holder. Multiple boat masters can be registered using the form below.

Application to change registration of a master/s (PDF 360.6 KB)

Charter boat fishery management

Management plan:

Stock assessment reports:

Economic indicator reports:

Rules and closures


Charter boat operators must be aware of size, bags, boat and trip limits that apply to their operation. These might vary from limits that apply to individual fishers.

Download the size, bag and boat limits for the South Australian charter boat fishery (PDF 1.5 MB) brochure.

Recreational fishers are not allowed to sell their catch.


Charter boats are not allowed to fish in closed areas. See the closures page for closure locations.


The South Australian Charter Boat Fishery is regulated through the:


Rebecca Atkins
Fishery Manager
Phone: (08) 8429 0241

Page Last Reviewed: 28 Jul 2017
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