Recreational Fishing / Fishing Licences
individual we can all exercise responsible fishing to ensure there will be
fish available for the future by releasing all undersize and excess fish.
To avoid wastage be prepared to store your fish catch to maximise its
freshness until you get home Fish is best stored in the shade in a wet
cotton bag or in an esky with ice slurry made up of two-parts ice and
and the temperature should be -04 degree C.
Once home or back at your RV/camp site the quicker you can chill your fish
to zero degrees and store it the longer its shelf life will be.
Non-native pest fish
should not be released into waterways as they compete with the native
species causing a reduction in native fish and affects their habitat.
If a non-native pest fish is caught it should not be released back in the
water but killed humanely. Do a Google search for state government sites for
– for those fish being returned to the water minimising hook damage will
give them a better chance of survival. Start using larger hooks or hook
types such as recurve or circle hooks that will hook the fish through the
lip as the fish will have a better change of survival when released than if
it has been hooked through the gills or throat. Long-shanked hooks and
barbless hooks are not only good for hooking a fish but are much easier to
stress and bruising to the fish by using a knotless landing net to retrieve
the fish from the water as scale damage or removal of the protective mucous
on their scales can lead to infection. To avoid damage to the protective
mucous, place the fish on a damp surface and use a damp cloth or wet hands.
good set of long-nosed pliers will help you remove the hook and a damp
fishing glove on the other hand will help you hold the fish and avoid spikes
from any barbs. If the fish caught has been deep hooked or hooked deep in
the gut leave the hook (it will rust out over time) as you may pull out
vital organs, then cut the line 20-30cm from the hook as this will not
impede the fishes ability to continue to feed.
Fish can be
exhausted after the struggle of being caught and may need some assistance
upon release. When returning the fish to the water, hold it on top behind
the head with a fishing glove or damp cloth and move it through the water
like it was swimming and repeat if necessary as this pushes water over the
fish’s gills so it can get enough oxygen to recover. Once it starts to give
a few flicks of its tail it is ready to release.
if you have a boat don’t forget to brush up on the rules and regulations for
your boating licence.
What is the best humane way to kill a fish?
Most of us
at one time or another have walked past someone’s fish catch left flapping
and ‘gasping’ on the deck of a boat or in a bucket and it does look
distressing for the fish.
best way to kill a fish humanely is by a technique known as ‘iki jimi’ which
is spiking the fish in the brain, just behind the eye with a sharp
instrument. The fish is likely to respond by convulsing, flaring its gills
and mouth and then relax.
Another way to kill a fish is to hit it with a sharp blow to
the head just above the eyes (adjacent to the brain) using a special tool
such as a priest or heavy wooden handle. If done correctly, the fish’s gill
covers should stop rhythmically moving and the eyes remain still.
Warm-water small to medium-bodied fish cab be dispatched
using an ice slurry if equal volumes of crushed ice and water. A fresh
water slurry should be about zero degree C so monitor the temperature and
add more ice if needed. Put the fish in the slurry, avoiding contact
between the ice and fish, and leave in the slurry for 10 – 20 minutes until
breathing has ceased.
After the fish has been killed, fish
intended for eating should be bled by cutting the throat or
gills area as this improves eating quality.
Recreational Fishing Licences
state and territory has various regulations, exemptions, terms and
conditions as well as fees applicable for the issuance of a fishing
licence. Penalties can apply for fishing without a licence or infringing
the conditions of use. The regulations as well as terms and conditions can
be changed over time depending on depletion of certain stocks of fish and
other reasons so it would be a good idea to keep yourself up to date.
Licences are issued upon payment of a fee and the time limit for a license
can vary (eg: 3 day up to 3 year licence).
anglers don’t require a licence to fish recreationally except if fishing in
some stocked impoundments such as Queensland
dams where a Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) is required for about 32
dams. Size, take and possession limits apply. In New South Wales you must
obtain a fishing licence to fish in saltwater or freshwater anywhere in NSW.
conserve fish stocks catch sizes and bag limits can apply and these
limits may also vary according to the various species of fish. Bag limits
or possession limits
are a type of catch quota for recreational fishers. The
possession limit definition for
states 'A possession limit refers to the total number of fish an
individual can legally take and have in their possession at any one time -
it does not apply on a per day basis. This includes the fish you have
caught previously that are in you freezer at home.'
Possession limits on the number of a
particular fish species can also apply particularly to coral reef fish.
and closed areas apply to various waters as well as the
species of fish particularly during spawning season. Some fish species may
be protected fish and must be released whilst other species may be
classed as ‘noxious’ or non-native
pest fish and not be able to be
released back into the water as they compete with native species. Also
check with Marine Parks such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
or the Environmental Protection Agency if the area you intend to fish is in
a ‘green zone’ (ie: no take area).
on the use of live bait
– check out if you are permitted to use live bait in certain areas. For
example in Qld their website states
'To prevent the spread
of disease and parasites in Queensland's freshwater systems, the use of
baits from the marine (saltwater) environment has been prohibited unless the
bait has been frozen, cooked or preserved'.
I get a recreational fishing licence?
An application for a fishing licence can be made on-line through
various websites (see links below) or
from their authorised agents.
- a Stock Impoundment Permit (SIP) is required for about 32 dams in Qld. For
the Baroon Pocket Dam, Hinz Dam, North Pine Dam and Storm King Dam a Council
Permit to fish in those dams is required. For the SIP you only need one
permit per couple (defacto or married) and if you are under 18 years of age
you don’t need one at all. Discounts apply to concession card holders.
Permits are available at authorised outlets and on line
Before you go saltwater fishing also check where the marine park boundaries
Great Barrier Reef Marine Part Authority (www.gbrmpa.gov.au)
and zoning maps
on line at DPI, DPI Fisheries Offices, or one their Gold agents or NSW
listed agents. In New South Wales you must carry a receipt showing
your payment of the Recreational Fishing Fee. This fee applies when hand
lining, bait collecting, prawn netting, spear fishing, trapping or
when in possession of fishing gear in, on or near freshwater or saltwater.
Those under the age of 18 years , an aboriginal person and holders of Age
Pensioner or Veteran's Affairs Concession Cards are exempt from payment of
the fee. For full details and to obtain a fishing licence to fish
in saltwater or freshwater anywhere in NSW. See their
– a recreational fishing licence to fish in public waters of the ACT is not
required. The public waters in the ACT are divided in open waters,
trout waters and prohibited waters. Some restrictions/regulations
apply. For full details see ACT Government Environment and Planning
Directorate - Environment (website)
– apply on-line at the Department of Agriculture, one of their many offices or business outlets in
Victoria as listed on their website. A Recreational Fishing Licence (RFL)
is required when taking, or attempting to take, any species of fish by line fishing, bait
collection, gathering shellfish, prawning, yabby fishing, prawning and spear fishing.
Exemptions apply. Purchase of a licence is non-refundable. See their
website for full particulars.
– apply on line at the Inland Fisheries Service
or one of its 120 agents including major
fishing tackle and sports stores.
In Tasmania you do not need a licence to fish with a rod and line in marine
waters but for angling in most inland waters an Inland Fisheries Angling Licence is
required. A Recreational Sea Fishing Licence is required for sea
fishing for certain types of fishing such as scallops, rock lobster pots,
abalone etc. Exemptions apply. See their
website for full particulars.
– currently, a licence to fish recreationally with rods and handlines in South
Australia is not required. See PIRSA Fisheries
relating to permitted devices, closed areas and bag limits. Recreational
fishers are not permitted to sell or trade their catch. A review of
recreational fishing and boat and bag limits is being undertaken with all
submissions to be received by 29 April 2016. An app, "SA Recreational
Fishing Guide" is available free from The App Store.
apply at the Department of Fisheries and all Australia Post outlets.
Recreational fishing in Western Australia is managed within four biological
regions and each region has fishing rules and regulations to suit the
regional ecology, fishing pressure and mix of species. A Recreational
Fishing from Boat Licence (RFBL) is required for any fishing activity from a
powered boat. A Recreational Fishing Licence is required for Rock Lobster,
Abalone, Marron, Freshwater Angling and Net Fishiing. See their
website for further details as well as maps of the
– No fishing licence is required for recreational fishing in the Northern
Territory but note none of the catch can be sold or bartered. In Kakadu National
Park some additional fishing controls apply (Department of Regional
Development, Primary Industry, Fisheries and Resources).
For recreational fishing on aboriginal land
and adjoining waters, there is also a
requirement to obtain a permit to enter.
For these areas enquires should be directed to the Northern Land
Council (NLC) or
In the NT they have a
‘General Personal Possession Limit’
rather than a boat, trip or daily limit. The NT Government website
states 'A General Personal Possession Limit (GPL) of 15 fish
applies. This is the maximum number of fish a person may have
in their possession at any time (other than in their place of
permanent residence). Included within the 15 fish limit you may only
have a maximum number of specified fish ..'
species are limited.
For full details see DPI&F
Concessions or Exemptions for fishing licences
When applying for a fishing licence or permit check if you may be eligible
for a concession or exemption from either having to have a licence or for
payment of a fee.
In Queensland you are under the age of 18 years you do not need a Stock
Impoundment Permit and in some states children under 14 or 16 years do not
need a licence to fish. In Victoria there is an exemption for a licence to
fish if you are over 70 years of age.
In a number of states you may not need to have a licence to fish if you hold
either a Seniors Card, Veterans’ Affairs Pensioner or Repatriation Health
(TPI) Card or Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card coded either (DSP),
(DSP Blind), (AGE), (AGE Blind) or (CAR). Please make your own enquiry.
Disclaimer: As fishing licence regulations, terms
and conditions may change in the various state or territory since this
article was written, you should make your own enquiry with the relevant
state fishing industry control authority.