Lake Eyre Basin fishery

There is only one licensed commercial fishing venture in the Lake Eyre Basin in the lower Cooper Creek area. The fishery is on the pastoral holding of Mulka Station. Large scale flooding fills the area with water and fish from upstream. Commercial fishing begins when Lake Hope and Red Lake have become disconnected from the main Cooper Creek system. Poor water quality will eventually kill all of the fish in the Lakes.

The license holder is permitted to take from Lake Hope and Red Lake:

  • Lake Eyre Basin Golden Perch
  • Welch’s Grunter as by-catch.

Fishery quota

The single Lake Eyre Basin License holder is entitled to 350 tonnes of Lake Eyre Basin golden perch per fishing event.


There are no new licenses available for commercial fishing in the Lake Eyre Basin Fishery.


Lake Eyre Basin Fishery licenses are issued for the term of the management plan.

The current management plan for the Lake Eyre Basin Fishery (PDF 9.0 MB) is in operation from March 2013 until 2023.


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

Payments can be made:

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

License transfer

The Lake Eyre Basin fishery license is not transferrable.

Boat registration and de-registration

All boats used for commercial fishing must be registered.

Use the application to vary a boat registration endorsement form (PDF 266.4 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 license holder. Multiple boat masters can be registered using the form below.

Application to change registration of a master/s (PDF 228.0 KB).


See the documents below for management information:

Catch and effort log book

The License holder for the Lake Eyre Basin Fishery provides catch and effort information to the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).

Rules and Regulations

The Lake Eyre Basin Fishery is regulated under:

Lake Eyre Basin fishery license conditions

The Lake Eyre Basin fishery has different license conditions to other fisheries because fishing only occurs after large scale flooding.

The conditions are:

  • The fishing activity is only permitted in Lake Hope and Red Lake on Pastoral Lease 2399 (Mulka) and Pastoral Lease 2447 (Lake Hope).
  • (1) If one registered boat is endorsed on this license, the license holder must not cause or permit more than two persons to act as his agent, in addition to the registered master, when fishing pursuant to this license. (2) If two registered boats are endorsed on this license, the license holder must not cause or permit more than four persons to act as his agent, in addition to the registered masters, when fishing pursuant to this license compulsive.
  • Only Lake Eyre Golden Perch (Macquaria sp. B), Barcoo Grunter (Scortum barcoo) and Welch's Grunter (Bidyanus welchi) may be taken. Barcoo Grunter and Welch's Grunter are only to be taken as by-product when targeting Lake Eyre Golden Perch.
  • A 350 tonne total allowable commercial catch limit will apply to Lake Eyre Golden Perch.
  • Once the 350 tonnage limit of Lake Eyre Golden Perch is reached no further fishing will be allowed, including the removal of Barcoo Grunter and Welch's Grunter.
  • Fishing may only commence eight months after the last peak of 70,000ML has been recorded at the Cullyamurra waterhole.
  • If the fishery commences after disconnection, but then a pulse of water reconnects the system, the fishery should be closed again until after a subsequent disconnection (as listed below). After disconnection a decision on the tonnage limit will be determined depending on the size and timing of the flood.
  • Reconnection will only be deemed to have occurred if waters flow past Cullyamurra waterhole at 70,000ML for more than 12 days.
  • Nets and other equipment used to take fish must not have been used in any other waters.
  • The Pastoral Board should be notified by the license owner prior to fishing.
  • Monitoring arrangements for the catch limit will apply:
    • A report must be made to PIRSA FISHWATCH (1800 065 522) providing the details of the Catch and Disposal Record (CDR) and details of the transportation company prior to transportation of the catch.
    • A copy of the CDR is to be provided to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, not later than the 14 days after being completed.


Rebecca Atkins
Fishery Manager
Phone: (08) 8429 0241

Page Last Reviewed: 28 Jul 2017
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