Recreational fishing rules
Restrictions apply to fishing gear to prevent overfishing.
Tidal water fishing gear
Note: You can use a drone to deploy fishing gear.
Prohibited fishing methods
- Jagging or foul hooking.
- Using underwater breathing apparatus (other than a snorkel) to catch fish.
- Using a crab hook.
- Using fishing gear (including nets) across a waterway or navigation channel if it makes more than half its width impassable to a boat or fish.
- Make sure your crab pot/dilly is heavy enough and has enough rope attached to the float so it’s not lost in strong tidal currents. Lost crabbing gear can harm marine animals and becomes marine litter
- It's best practice to make sure your pots/dillies are in water deep enough at all stages of the tide so marine animals caught in the gear are not exposed to the sun and unwanted crabs can be released alive
- Sort your crabs on a pot-by-pot basis to remove any no-take crabs before moving on. If you don’t, any illegal catch in your pot is considered to be in your possession
- Check your pots/dillies regularly to ensure any bycatch or no-take crabs can be released unharmed. Ideally, you should not leave gear unattended for more than 7 days. If you’re not sure when you’ll be back, take it with you.
- Hook crabs – hooking crabs is illegal
- Interfere with another person’s crabbing gear – this is a serious offence that carries heavy penalties. Stealing crabs or crab pots is a criminal offence. If you’re caught you will be reported to the police.
Crab pots and dillies
Read about fish habitat areas and marine park zoning.
Read about marine park zoning managed by the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority.
Scoop or dip nets
Seine nets (bait nets or drag nets)
You can’t spearfish for barramundi between 6pm and 6am.
You can’t go spearfishing in fresh waters.
Freshwater fishing gear
You can’t use
- hand pumps or worm digging forks
- a spear or spear gun (including a bow for propelling a spear)
- underwater breathing apparatus (other than a snorkel) to catch fish
- a cast net or seine net
- a crab pot.
You also can’t interfere with gear that you didn’t set – this is a serious offence that carries heavy penalties.
- You can use canister traps, collapsible traps, dilly nets, funnel or round traps, or open-top pyramid traps – up to 4 traps in total.
- All traps must have a tag attached with the surname and address (number, street, town, state and postcode) of the person using the trap – this information must be clearly visible, legible and in English.
- If a trap is not fixed to something stationary (e.g. a branch or boat) above the surface of the water, it must have a solid light-coloured float attached, which is at least 15 cm in all its dimensions and marked with the user’s surname.
You can use:
You must stay within 50m of all your fishing lines.
Funnel and round traps
Scoop or dip nets:
Open-top pyramid trap
In this guide:
- Fishing gear
- Closed seasons and waters
- Size and possession limits - tidal waters
- Size and possession limits - fresh waters