Recreational Fishing Rules and Regulations NSW

If you are a recreational fisherman in Australia then there are certain rules and regulations you must abide by. These regulations are designed to keep fishing a sustainable resource and at the same time preserving the ecology of the landscape.  Our guide to the rules and regulations apply to fishing in New South Wales.

Each year about one million anglers in NSW visit some of the best fishing locations Australia has to offer. Fishing is generally seen as a recreational activity. In NSW this "activity" generates around $3.5 billion dollars a year and employs approximately 14,000 people. So this recreation past time has in fact created an important industry that provides jobs and revenue.

If you want to fish in NSW by law you will be charged a recreational fishing fee. The fees to fish in NSW create Recreational Fishing Trusts. These Trusts, in turn, regulate and maintain projects that are set up to sustain the saltwater and freshwater fishing industry well into the future.

We have tabled below a shortened version of some of the rules and regulations for fishing in NSW. To view the full regulations and definitions please click on the links provided.

Fishing Licences and Fees in NSW
When fishing in NSW waters, both freshwater and saltwater, you are required by law to pay the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee and carry a receipt showing the payment of the fee. This applies when:

  • spearfishing
  • hand lining
  • hand gathering
  • trapping
  • bait collecting
  • prawn netting
  • in possession of fishing gear in, on or adjacent to waters.

Go to our Fishing Licences and Fees in NSW page.

How to Measure Fish

Go to How to Measure Fish page.

Fishing Bag Limits in NSW Waters

Bag limit is the maximum number of fish per person per day. A maximum daily bag limit of 20 applies to any fish or invertebrate not included in the bag & size limit tables.

Daily bag limits are one of the key tools for managing recreational fishing. They limit the number of fish that an individual angler can catch and keep in a 24 hour period.

Bag limits are typically put in place for a number of biological and social reasons including:

  • conserving fish stocks
  • sharing the catch between recreational fishers and other users
  • encouraging responsible and ethical use of fisheries resources
  • assisting in reducing illegal fish sales
  • protecting threatened or vulnerable species

Bag limits apply to all forms of recreational fishing for fish and invertebrates, including line fishing, spearfishing, hand gathering, prawn scooping, drag netting, bait collection, and the use of crab traps, nets and lobster pots.

Go to Fishing Bag Limits in NSW page.

Fishing Possession Limit in NSW
A possession limit is the maximum number of fish that a person is allowed to have in their possession at any time. Possession limits provide a useful tool to discourage illegal sales of fish by constraining recreational fishers from accumulation commercial quantities of fish. For all saltwater species except; Australian Bass and Estuary Perch, Flathead (except Dusky), Bream and Tarwhine, Tailor, Luderick, Trevallies and Blue Swimmer Crab, the daily bag limit is also the possession limit.

Go to Fishing Possession Limits in NSW page.

Boat limits
Boat limits aim to limit the catch of anglers fishing in the same boat over a 24 hour period. These apply regardless of the number of people in the boat. Boat limits are intended to limit the overall recreational fishing catch and prevent the circumvention of personal daily bag limits by individual fishers through the carrying of non-fishing passengers in a boat. At present, the only boat limit applies to gemfish (10 fish).

Go to Fishing Boat Bag Limits and sizes in NSW page.

Spearfishing Rules in NSW

Go to Spearfishing Rules in NSW page.

Sydney South Recreational Fishing Guide