Fishing limits explained

Size limits

There are minimum and maximum legal size limits for some fish species that are caught with rod and line or other permitted devices.

Size limits let fish:

  • reach maturity
  • complete their breeding cycle
  • contribute to sustainable fish stocks.

Fish taken for use as bait must still meet size limits.

Personal daily bag limit

There are limits to the number of a particular fish species that can be taken by 1 fisher. Bag limits make sure fishing resources are shared and the take by recreational fishers is sustainable.

You are not allowed to catch any more of a species once you have caught your daily bag limit for that species. A “day” is classified as the 24-hour period from midnight to midnight.

Daily boat limit

There is a limit to how many fish can be landed onto a boat. The boat limit is usually set at 3 times the personal bag limit when there are 3 or more people fishing in the boat. The personal bag limit applies to each person when there are 1 or 2 people fishing in a boat.

Abalone and rock lobster have a boat limit set at twice the personal bag limit.

Boat limits apply for a 24-hour period from midnight to midnight. You are not allowed to catch any more of a species during that 24-hour period once you have reached the boat limit.

Different boat limits apply for charter boat fishing.

Possession limits

Possession limits restrict the quantity or total weight of fish that recreational fishers can catch and keep. Possession limits are a useful regulatory tool that prevents recreational fishers taking and stockpiling large quantities of fish.

They assist in:

  • controlling high levels of localised recreational fishing,
  • securing stock sustainability
  • giving equitable access to fish stocks
  • reducing the risk of localised depletion.

Limits apply per person where long-term storage is occurring through:

  • freezing
  • pickling
  • smoking.

Measuring your catch

Instructions for how to measure your catch are on each species limits page.

Mutilation of fish at sea

It is an offence to cut up, fillet or otherwise mutilate fish or crabs on a boat (except for scaling and gutting) unless they are to be eaten on board. This only applies to fish (other than shark) and crab subject to legal minimum lengths. For Gummy and School sharks, a person is permitted to remove pelvic fins, claspers and the tail at the sub terminal notch, leaving the caudal lobe attached to the body. The head can also be removed, as Gummy and School sharks are measured from the 5th gill slit to the base of the tail.

Location coordinates

All coordinates given for locations are based on the Australian Geocentric Datum GDA94 which coincides almost exactly with WGS84. Some adjustments might be needed depending on the GPS navigational system used.

More information

Page Last Reviewed: 26 Feb 2018
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