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QLD Fishing Regulations 2019 & 2020 | The Essentials

To help preserve Queensland’s rich variety of fish species, you’ll need to follow the strict QLD fishing regulations of 2019 and 2020. Here are the most important rules.

Size limits

To prevent the capture of young fish, size limits apply to every species in Queensland. The best place to find this information is on the government’s Recreational fishing rules pages for both tidal fish, and freshwater fish.

How many fish you can carry

You cannot carry more than 20 freshwater or tidal fish. This includes Australian bass, barramundi, cod, goby, mullet, redclaw, and yabbies.

You cannot carry more than 20 coral reef fish. This includes cods and groupers, coral trout, emperors, fusiliers, parrotfishes, surgeonfishes, sweetlips, tropical snappers and sea perches, and wrasse.

Each type of fish also has its own possession limits. To avoid incurring hundreds of dollars worth of fines, check out the government’s Recreational fishing rules pages for both tidal fish, and freshwater fish.

Protected species you’re not allowed to keep (no take)

Some fishing rules in QLD are severe, with some species allowed to be caught at all. This is for a number of good reasons—they may be endangered, they may be a critical part of the ecosystem, or catching them may damage their habitat.

Here are the “no take” fish that you’re not allowed to keep:

Tidal fish

  • Barramundi cod
  • Potato rockcod
  • Queensland groper
  • Chinaman fish
  • Paddletail
  • Red bass
  • Humphead Maori
  • Clams
  • Helmet shells
  • Trumpet shells
  • Manta ray
  • Sawfish
  • White shark
  • Sand tiger shark
  • Speartooth shark
  • Hammerhead shark

Freshwater fish

  • Australian lungfish
  • Bloomfield River cod
  • Mary River cod
  • Freshwater sawfish
  • Cling goby
  • Edgbaston hardyhead
  • Myross hardyhead
  • Bivalve molluscs
  • Gastropods
  • River blackfish
  • Spiny crayfish

Equipment restrictions

One of the easiest ways to prevent overfishing is to impose equipment restrictions on recreational fishers. You can’t catch hundreds of fish at once with a small net!

There’s equipment restrictions on fishing lines, cast nets, traps, pots, dredges, spear guns, and more. You can read the full list here.

Seeing as though most recreational fishers use fishing lines, here are the restrictions in full:

Fishing lines

Freshwater fishing

  • Six fishing lines max
  • Set fishing lines are prohibited, including using them as cross-lines
  • Only a single hook, fly, bait jib, or lure can be attached to a line
  • You cannot be further than 50 metres away from a fishing line

Tidal fishing

  • Three fishing lines max, with no more than six hooks
  • A lure, fly, bait jig, or gang hook is considered a single hook
  • Cross lines, drum lines, free-floating lines, or set lines are not included as fishing lines
  • You must remain present with the line at tll times

Skin and fillet removal

There’s rules around skin and fillet removal for coral reef fin fish and fin fish, which are as follows.

Coral reef fin fish

  • Fish can only be in the following forms: whole, gilled, gutted, or filleted
  • Fillets must be 40cm or longer, with the skin and scales attached. This doesn’t apply to blue spotted coral trout.
  • Must not possess a live coral reef fin fish, unless intending to return it to the sea immediately, or display in an aquarium

Fin fish (not coral reef)

  • Cannot remove the skin of a fish until ashore
  • Cannot remove the skin of a fish ashore, and then return it to the boat
  • Cannot divide the fish into portions in a way that prevents an inspector from counting the total number of fish

Freshwater bait

You can only use the following live bait:

  • Redclaw crayfish
  • Shrimp
  • Yabbies

To prevent the spread of disease and parasites in freshwater, bait must be frozen, preserved, or cooked.