Recreational fishing

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Australia has a thriving sport and recreational fishing culture and is known for having some of the best fishing locations anywhere in the world.

There are rules and regulations in place in all Australian waters, both freshwater and saltwater, which you are required by law to uphold. These differ from state to state, so it is important to check before you fish.

There are a number of things you can do to help to ensure diseases and pests are not introduced in our waterways. Outbreaks of diseases or pests can have devastating impacts on aquaculture businesses and potentially harm popular commercial and recreational fishing areas.​​​​​

Keep fishing equipment clean

Fishing equipment can be a major source of diseases or pest transfer.

Keeping your equipment clean is a sure way to minimise any biosecurity threats that might be present. Overseas travel involving your fishing equipment raises the biosecurity hazard that can arise. Visit international travellers for more information.

Nets, rods and tackle should be cleaned thoroughly after use and allowed to dry. Bait should be stored frozen or properly disposed of after use and, if you use a boat, its ballast water needs to be safely exchanged to avoid the spread of any marine pests or disease.

Do not use food as bait

Bait needs to be wild-caught from your local area or sourced from a reputable bait supplier. Do not use prawns or other seafood from a supermarket or fishmonger as bait, these are often marked for human consumption only – this can introduce disease to your favourite fishing spot.

Seafood purchased from supermarkets that is intended for human consumption is not appropriate to be used as bait. Do not collect bait (for example yabbies and marine worms) from one area and use it in another.

Maintain your home aquariums

Aquariums and ornamental fish are popular in Australia.

Ornamental fish enthusiasts need to be meticulous in managing the health of their fish to prevent the spread of pests and diseases into other collections, or even into the wild.

If for any reason you can no longer maintain the upkeep of your fish tank, do not dispose of your fish in rivers, creeks or our oceans.

Many ornamental fish are exotic to Australia. Releasing them into our waterways can see them establish as pests with major impacts on our native fish species and their ecosystems.

To find out about more about the regulations of your state or territory, check with your Department of Primary Industries or Fisheries.

​​​​Report a biosecurity concern


​​​​​Related websites

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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