Recreational fishing rules

Size and possession limits - tidal waters

General possession limit

There is a general possession limit of 20 for all tidal species not listed on this page.

In Queensland, there are minimum size limits and also some maximum size limits. Find out how to measure your catch.

possession limit is the total number of fish that one person can legally take and keep at any one time – it is not a daily limit. This includes any fish that you have at home in the freezer.

Return undersized, oversized, no-take or closed season species to the water immediately to ensure they have the best chance of survival – watch our top tips for catch and release.

Coral reef fin fish Other tidal fish

Coral reef fin fish

combined possession limit of 20 in total applies to all coral reef fin fish – for a complete list of species, refer to fisheries legislation.

Skin removal and filleting rules apply:

  • You can have whole (dead), gilled, gutted or filleted (fillets must be at least 40 cm long with skin and scales left on) coral reef fin fish on board a boat.
  • You can only have a live coral reef fin fish (excluding coral trout or redthroat emperor) on board a boat if it’s going to be displayed in an aquarium.
  • You can’t have fillets of blue spotted coral trout (Chinese footballer) on board a boat.

There are two 5-day coral reef fin fish closed seasons in October and November each year.

Cods and groupers

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exception follows)

38cm min

Combined limit of 5 in total of all cod and grouper species

Camouflage grouper

50cm min 70cm max

Combined limit of 5 in total of all cod and grouper species

Flowery rockcod

50cm min 70cm max

Combined limit of 5 in total of all cod and grouper species

Greasy rockcod

38cm min 100cm max

Combined limit of 5 in total of all cod and grouper species

Maori rockcod

45cm min

Combined limit of 5 in total of all cod and grouper species

Barramundi cod

No take

Potato rockcod

No take

Queensland groper

No take

Coral trout

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exception follows)

38cm min

Combined limit of 7 in total of all trout species

Blue spotted coral trout (Chinese footballer)

50cm min 80cm max

Combined limit of 7 in total of all trout species

Emperors

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exception follows)

25cm min

Limit of 5 per species

Redthroat emperor (sweetlip emperor)

38cm min

Limit of 8

Long nose emperor

38cm min

Limit of 5

Spangled emperor

45cm min

Limit of 5

Fusiliers

Species

Size and possession limits

All

No size limit

Limit of 20

Parrotfishes

Species

Size and possession limits

All

25cm min

Limit of 5 per species

Surgeonfishes

Species

Size and possession limits

All

25cm min

Limit of 5 per species

Sweetlips

Species

Size and possession limits

All

25cm min

Limit of 5 per species

Tropical snappers and sea perches

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exceptions follow)

25cm min

Limit of 5 per species

Crimson snapper (small mouth nannygai) and
Saddletail snapper (large mouth nannygai)

40cm min

Combined limit of 9 in total of both species

Flame snapper

38cm min

Limit of 5

Goldband snapper and Sharptooth snapper

38cm min

Combined limit of 5 in total of both species

Hussar

25cm min

Limit of 10

Jobfish – Green jobfish, Smalltooth jobfish and Ruby snapper

38cm min

Limit of 5 per species

Red emperor

55cm min

Limit of 5

Rosy snapper (rosy jobfish) and
Lavender snapper (lavender jobfish)

38cm min

Combined limit of 8 in total of both species

Chinaman fish No take
Paddletail No take
Red bass No take

Wrasse

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exceptions follow)

30cm min

Limit of 5 per species

Pigfish, Redbreast Maori wrasse and Triple tail Maori wrasse

25cm min

Limit of 5 per species

Tuskfish (all species)

30cm min

Combined limit of 6 in total of all tuskfish species

Humphead Maori wrasse

No take

Other tidal fish

Skin removal and filleting rules apply:

  • You can’t have fish on board a boat with the skin removed. Some exceptions apply to individual species – details in relevant species information below.
  • You can divide a fish into portions as long as an inspector can easily count the number of fish in your possession.

Australian bass

Species

Size and possession limits

All

30cm min

Limit of 2

Closed season applies

Barramundi

Species

Size and possession limits

All

58cm min 120cm max

Limit of 5 per person / 10 per boat (with 2 or more people on board)

Closed season applies

Bream

Species

Size and possession limits

Pikey,

Tarwhine and

Yellowfin

25cm min

Combined limit of 30 in total of these species

Bugs

  • You can’t have bug meat in your possession on a boat unless you intend to eat it immediately – otherwise bugs must remain whole.
  • You can’t have a bug with a damaged shell or with a shell separated from the body in your possession.

Species

Size and possession limits

Moreton Bay (bay lobster)

7.5cm min (across widest part of the shell)

Limit of 20

Smooth (Balmain)

10.5cm min (across widest part of carapace)

Limit of 20

No take: Egg-bearing Balmain bugs

Clams

Species

Size and possession limits

Family Tridacnidae,

Helmet shells and

Trumpet shells

No take

Cobia (black kingfish)

Species

Size and possession limits

All

75cm min

Limit of 2

Cod (estuary)

Species

Size and possession limits

Blackspotted rockcod and

Goldspotted rockcod

38cm min 120cm max

Combined limit of 5 in total of all cod and grouper species

Crabs

Species

Size and possession limits

Blue swimmer

11.5cm min

Limit of 20

No take: Female blue swimmer crabs

You can’t possess blue swimmer crabs with the shell missing, or claws without the rest of the crab.

Mud

15cm min

Limit of 7 per person / 14 per boat (with 2 or more people on board)

No take: Female mud crabs

Closed waters apply

You can’t possess mud crabs with the shell missing, or claws without the rest of the crab.

Spanner 

10cm min

Limit of 20

Closed season applies

You can’t possess spanner crab claws without the rest of the crab.

No take: Egg-bearing spanner crabs

Three-spotted

10cm min

Limit of 20

You can’t possess three-spotted crab claws without the rest of the crab.

No take: Egg-bearing three-spotted crabs

Eels

Species

Size and possession limits

Longfin,

Pacific shortfin (south Pacific) and

Southern shortfin

30cm min

Combined limit of 10 in total of all species

Flathead

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exception follows)

30cm min

Combined limit of 5 in total of all species (other than dusky flathead)

Dusky (mud flathead)

40cm min 75cm max

Limit of 5

Garfish

Species

Size and possession limits

All

No size limit

Combined limit of 50 in total of all species

Golden snapper (fingermark)

Species

Size and possession limits

All

35cm min

Limit of 5

Grass emperor (sweetlip)

Species

Size and possession limits

All

30cm min

Liimit of 10

Green snail

Species

Size and possession limits

All

280g min

Limit of 20

Javelin

Species

Size and possession limits

Barred (spotted grunter)
(East coast)

40cm min (whole or with head or tail removed) or 
26cm min fillet length (skin left on while on a boat)

Limit of 10

Barred (spotted grunter)
(Gulf of Carpentaria)

40cm min (whole or with head or tail removed) or
26cm min fillet length (skin left on while on a boat)

Limit of 10 whole fish or 20 fillets

Silver (small spotted grunter)

30cm min

Limit of 10

Jewfish

Species

Size and possession limits

Black (East coast)

75cm min

Limit of 1 per person / 2 per boat (with 2 or more people on board)

Fish must be kept whole while on a boat.

Closed waters apply

Black (Gulf of Carpentaria)

60cm min

Limit of 1 per person / 2 per boat (with 2 or more people on board )

Fish must be kept whole while on a boat.

Note: Will become a no-take species if the annual total allowable commercial catch is reached – fishery currently open.

Scaly (jewel fish)

45cm min

Limit of 20

Fish must be kept whole while on a boat

Luderick

Species

Size and possession limits

All

30cm min

Limit of 10

Mackerel

Species

Size and possession limits

Grey

60cm min

Limit of 5

Spanish

75cm min

Limit of 3 per person / 6 per boat (with 2 or more people on board)

Closed seasons apply

School

50cm min

Limit of 10

Shark

50cm min

Limit of 10

Spotted

60cm min

Lmit of 5

Mahi mahi (dolphin fish)

Species

Size and possession limits

All

50cm min

Limit of 5

Mangrove jack

Species

Size and possession limits

All

35cm min

Limit of 5

Molluscs and gastropods

Bivalve molluscs and gastropods, including pipis, mud whelks and cockles – excluding all oysters

Species

Size and possession limits

All

No size limit

Limit of 30

No take: Bivalve molluscs and gastropods (excluding pipis) are no take in Moreton Bay

Mullet

Species

Size and possession limits

Diamondscale

30cm min

Limit of 20

Sea

30cm min

Limit of 20

Mullet exceptions (all other mullet except diamondscale, sea and freshwater)

No size limit

Limit of 50

Mulloway

Species

Size and possession limits

All

75cm min

Limit of 2

Fish must be kept whole while on a boat

Oysters

You can only take pearl oysters away from a public oyster reserve or unlicensed oyster ground – you must eat all other oysters where you catch them.

All licensed oyster grounds and aquaculture areas are required to display signage. Taking oysters from, or interfering with, aquaculture infrastructure and licensed oyster grounds is illegal and carries heavy penalties.

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exception follows)

No size limit

Limit of 20

Blacklip pearl oyster

9cm min

Limit of 20

Goldlip pearl oyster

13cm min 23cm max

Limit of 20

Pearl perch

Species

Size and possession limits

All

38cm min

Limit of 4

Closed season applies

Prawns

Species

Size and possession limits

All

No size limit

Limit of 10 litres per person / 20 litres per boat (with 2 or more people on board)

You can’t have prawns with the heads or any other part removed in your possession, unless you intend to eat them immediately.

Rays

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exceptions follow)

150cm max or interdorsal length 60cm max

Combined limit of 1 shark or ray per person / 2 sharks or rays per boat (with 2 or more people on board)

Guitarfish

Size and possession limits as above

You can’t fillet guitarfish, or remove the tails or fins, or have tails or fins on board a boat

Shovelnose ray

Size and possession limits as above

You can't fillet shovelnose rays, but you can trunk or gut them
Fins must be naturally attached

Manta ray

No take

Sawfish

No take

Sea cucumber

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exception follows)

No size limit

Limit of 5 per person / 10 per boat (with 2 or more people on board) for waters north of latitude 20° south (near Bowen) and waters east of longitude 142°31’49’’ east (Gulf waters)

Closed waters apply

Black teatfish

No take

White teatfish No take

Sharks

Shark fishing safety – minimise the risk to yourself and other waterway users when fishing for sharks.

Fin and tail removal and filleting rules apply:

  • You can remove the fins and tails of some sharks and rays, but the rest of the body must also be on board the boat.
  • You can divide a shark or ray into portions as long as an inspector can easily count the number of sharks or rays in your possession.

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exceptions follow)

150cm max or interdorsal length 60cm max

Combined limit of 1 shark or ray per person / 2 sharks or rays per boat (with 2 or more people on board)

Grey reef and whitetip reef sharks

Size and possession limits as above

You can’t fillet grey reef or whitetip reef sharks, or remove the tails or fins, or have tails or fins on board a boat

Grey nurse shark

No take

Hammerhead sharks

No take

Sand tiger shark

No take

Speartooth shark

No take

White shark

No take

Snapper

Species

Size and possession limits

All

35cm min

Limit of 4 per person with no more than 1 over 70cm / 8 per boat with no more than 2 over 70cm (with 2 or more people on board)

Closed season applies

Tailor

Species

Size and possession limits

All

35cm min

Limit of 20

Teraglin

Species

Size and possession limits

All

38cm min

Limit of 5

Threadfin (salmon)

Species

Size and possession limits

King (East coast)

65cm min

Limit of 5

King (Gulf of Carpentaria)


60cm min

Limit of 5

Blue (East coast)

40cm min

Limit of 10

Blue (Gulf of Carpentaria)

40cm min

Limit of 20

Trevally (family Carangidae)

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exception follows)

No size limit

Combined limit of 20 in total for all species

Amberjack and

Samsonfish

50cm min

Combined limit of 2 in total of both species

Swallowtail dart

30cm min

Limit of 30

Giant queenfish

50cm min

Limit of 5

Yellowtail kingfish

60cm min

Limit of 2

Trochus

Species

Size and possession limits

All

8cm min 12.5cm max

Limit of 20

Tropical rocklobster

  • You can’t have a live tropical rocklobster in your possession
  • No take: Egg-bearing tropical rocklobsters and tropical rocklobsters with tar spots (sperm packets) attached
  • Closed season applies

Species

Size and possession limits

All (exceptions follow)

No size limit

Combined limit of 5 per person / 10 per boat (with 2 or more people on board) in total of all species

Ornate crayfish (Panulirus ornatus)

11.5cm min tail

9cm min shell

Combined limit of 5 per person / 10 per boat (with 2 or more people on board) in total of all species

Red champagne lobster

7.5 min

Combined limit of 5 per person / 10 per boat (with 2 or more people on board) in total of all species

Wahoo

Species

Size and possession limits

All

75cm min

Limit of 2

Whiting

Species

Size and possession limits

Sand (summer whiting),

Goldenline and

Northern

23cm min

Combined limit of 30 in total of these species

Trumpeter (winter whiting)

No size limit

Limit of 50

Dorab wolf herring

Species

Size and possession limits

All

No size limit

Limit of 10

Worms (including parts of worms) and bait species

Worm digging closed waters apply

Species

Size and possession limits

Beach worms

No size limit

Limit of 30

Cribb Island worms (formerly known as bloodworms)

No size limit

Limit of 50

All other worms (e.g. mangrove worm) No size or possession limit
Herring No size or possession limit
Common hardyhead No size or possession limit
Australian sardine No size or possession limit
Australian anchovy No size or possession limit
Silver biddy No size or possession limit
Saltwater yabby No size or possession limit
Soldier crab No size or possession limit
Cuttlefish or squid (excluding tiger squid – general possession limit of 20)

No size limit

Limit of 50

Smooth-clawed rock crab

No size limit

Limit of 50

Yellowtail pike

No size limit

Limit of 50

In this guide:

  1. Fishing gear
  2. Closed seasons and waters
  3. Size and possession limits - tidal waters
  4. Size and possession limits - fresh waters

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