Recreational fishing

​​​Recreational fishing in Australia is an important leisure activity that contributes economic and social benefits to the Australian community, and is part of life for Australian of all ages and from all socio-economic backgrounds. The recreational sector is larger and more widely dispersed than any other recreational activity that utilises a natural resource. From Mum and Dad fishers who may fish once a year, to game fishers whose boat and fishing equipment can be investments of thousands of dollars, recreational fishing contributes to the health and well-being of many Australians and provides economic and social benefits to regional areas.

The Australian Government plays an important stewardship role in facilitating the development of the recreational fishing industry as a sustainable, long term and valuable contributor to the Australian economy. As most recreational fishing occurs within state and territory waters, state and territory governments are responsible for the day-to-day management of recreational fisheries, including the recreational components of some Commonwealth managed commercial fisheries such as game fishing.

The Australian Government is responsible however, for overseeing the management of several recreational target species, including the southern bluefin tuna, through its obligations under international arrangements.

​In 2011, the Australian Government supported the recreational fishing sector to review the 1994 National Recreational Fishing Policy and develop the Recreational fishing in Australia – 2011 and beyond: a national industry development strategy. The strategy identifies actions of the recreational fishing sector—fishers and the industry—along with government, researchers and other stakeholders, in realising opportunities and meeting challenges that face recreational fishing into the future. 

Ten projects were funded that support priority activities identified in the strategy—the final reports for these projects are available on the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

You can find the recreational fishing rules for the states and territories on their websites:

Last reviewed: 16 October 2020
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