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Collection Laws by State

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  • Collection Laws by State

    Hello all. I went puddle pirating the other day and realized afterwards that I did not check if/what was legal to collect in my local waterways. I put this together to help others and put back into this fantastic community of aquarists. I have put together a fresh-water section, others are welcome to add a salt-water/brackish section if they can find the information.

    Anglers do not require a licence to fish recreationally in Queensland, except when fishing in some stocked impoundments. For information on stocked impoundment locations and licenses see here

    Queensland has provision for bag and possession limits to prevent over-fishing, see here

    When fishing in fresh-water, you are only allowed to utilise the following (See diagram below):
    * a fishing line that consists of a hand-held line with or without a pole, reel or rod
    * a trap that can be a canister trap (<50cm all dimensions, one open end), collapsible trap, dilly net (<1.25m diameter, <25mm mesh size), funnel trap (>70cm long + 50cm wide/high, less than 4 entrances >100mm dia; mesh size <25mm) or round trap (as for funnel traps)
    * a scoop or dip net (no more than 1m in any dimension, mesh size <25mm, handle <2.5m)
    * a set line within 200m of yourself.

    There are a number of protected species (all saltwater) which are found here

    For freshwater, under the Nature Conservation Act the following cannot be caught or sold in Queensland. There aren't many, currently:
    * Elizabeth Springs goby (Chlamydogobius sp. A)
    * Edgbaston goby (Chlamydogobius sp. B)
    * Red-finned blue-eye (Scaturinginichthys vermeilipinnis)
    * Oxleyan pygmy perch (Nannoperca oxleyana)
    * Honey blue-eye (Pseudomugil mellis)

    The following species are considered Noxious are are illegal to catch/posses. If found, you can report said species via this page
    * Bluegill Lepomis spp.
    * Chinese weatherfish (weatherloach) Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
    * Electric eel Family Gymnotidae
    * Carp Cyprinus carpio
    * Climbing perch Anabus testudies
    * Grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella
    * Largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides
    * Gambusia Gambusia holbrooki
    * Nile perch (live) Lates niloticus
    * Parasitic catfish Family Trichomycteridae or Vandellinae
    * Pike cichlid Crenicichla spp.
    * Piranha Family Serrasalmidae
    * Snakehead Channa spp.
    * Tiger catfish Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum
    * Tigerfish Family Hydrocyninae or Erythrinidae
    * Tilapia Tilapia, Oreochromis or Sarotherodon spp.
    * Walking catfish Family Clariidae (predaceous)

    For more information on Noxious/banned species

    There are also a few off-limits areas for fishing, see here

    For recreational fishing in NSW for both freshwater and saltwater (if over 18) you are required by law to pay the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee and carry a receipt showing the payment of the fee. Fees are for three days ($6), one month ($12), a year ($30) or three years ($75), payable online, from standard and gold fee agents, by calling 1300 369 365 or from most Kmart stores in NSW.

    New South Wales also has provision for bag and possession limits to prevent over-fishing, see here

    Certain methods are legal for collection, see traps and nets, line fishing and illegal methods

    There are also a number of closure and restricted areas for fishing, see here

    and a guide to freshwater fishing in NSW waters here

    Again, in Victoria, you are required to purchase a licence if over 18 + under 70 and fishing in public waters. These cost according to type: 48 hours ($5.50), 28 days ($11), one year ($22) and three years ($60). These are available from DPI/DSE offices, most retail fishing tackle stores, Shell
    Touch outlets (48-hour and 28-day RFLs) or the DPI website

    Bag + collection limits do apply, see here for information

    Collection methods are limited to (per person):
    * 2 'lines'
    * 2 hooks per line
    * 2 bait traps, labelled
    * 10 hoop nets, labelled
    * Dip/landing nets restricted in National Parks
    * Bait (Hauling) nets limited to certain waters
    * NO yabby pots of an opera/folding frame construction allowed

    There are a number of restricted and closed waters, see here

    And information on fishing safety and contacts

    A person who wishes to fish for recreation in Northern Territory waters does not require a licence to do so. However, recreational fishers currently need a temporary licence for recreational fishing on and over aboriginal granted land and adjoining waters. Enquiries should be directed to the Northern Land Council (NLC) on 1800 645 299 or by visiting the NLC website

    Collection limits apply for the Northern Territory - A person may not possess more than 30 fish or the equivalent of 30 fish .

    Species exempt from the general possession limit are:
    * Crabs and tropical rock lobsters;
    * Prawns;
    * Octopus, cuttlefish and squid;
    * Bait fish (mullet, whiting, garfish, pilchards, .
    sardines, herrings);
    * Marine bream (Acanthopagrus sp.); and
    * Echinoderms (sea urchins and starfish).

    For protected species and areas, see pdf

    Also, there are restrictions on equipment able to be used:
    * amateur drag net (not longer than 16m excluding lines, droop <2m, mesh size <28mm) which must be used in more than 30cm of water
    * cast net (diameter <6m, mesh size <25mm, drop <3m when suspended from centre)
    * float line attached to one/one set of hooks
    * max 5 freshwater pots (<0.3m3 in volume, no more than 2 entrances, no material placed in the pot which is likely
    to entangle fish or aquatic life
    * gaff
    * hand spear which can only be propelled without devices/assistance
    * knife
    * bow and arrow
    * scoop net
    * hand line or rod and reel with no more than 5 hooks
    * troll line

    To fish in an inland water you must hold a current Angling Licence and fish with a rod, reel and line during the angling season that applies to the water. These are available here

    regulations on waterways and bag limits

    No licence is required for recreational fishing in South Australia.

    Limits on gear:
    * up to two rods, or two handlines, or one of each.
    * one teaserline when squid fishing
    Each line may have up to three hooks attached or up to five hooks joined eye to shank or threaded together. This will be considered as one hook.
    * bow and arrow (only for European Carp in tributaries of the Murray river)
    * max 3 Drop net (max hoop diameter 107cm, max depth 92cm w/ 1 white buoy of 4 litres volume if unattended)
    * Dip Tin (perforated metal basket with handle used to catch freshwater shrimp in the River Murray only; L:40cm W:30cm D:20cm Perforations: 0.8cm dia.)
    * fish/hand spear/powerheads (regulations apply)
    * Hand net (dab net, dip net or shrimp net w/ conical shaped netting joined to a hoop which is attached to a rigid handle; Max dia. 1m, Max depth 1m)
    * Shrimp Trap (Max dimension: 40cm, Max height: 20cm, Max funnel diameter: 3cm, Min mesh size: 5mm)

    closed areas and seasons
    catch limits

    Western Australia requires different licences for different types of fishing. They are priced as follows and can be bought here, from the Dept. of Fisheries and Australia Post outlets:

    Rock Lobster $35.00
    Abalone $41.00
    Marron $24.00
    Freshwater Angling $24.00 (required to fish for all freshwater fish in waters south of Greenough (29 o S. latitude) and above the tidal influence including all lakes, dams, rivers and their tributaries)
    Net fishing (gill, haul, throw) $29.00
    All of the Above $81.00

    Also, children under 16 don't need a licence.

    Collection limits apply to certain species only, see here

    IN FRESHWATER, Angling with a fishing rod and line, or hand line, only. Limit of one line per fisher. All other fishing methods are illegal.

    Restricted areas apply only if fishing for species that require a licence or trout, see here and here

    There is also a note from Dave that is relevant to the thread:
    Originally posted by Dave View Post
    I would not put the fish back in the creek after they have been in contact with other fishes from other locations. What can happen is there will most likely be microscopic organisms on your spotted blue-eyes. If they look healthy it doesn't mean there will be no flukes or other critters. If they have been in the same tank then most certainly the hitchhikers will have jumped across.

    Now if you release your smelt they may take with them a critter that was not in the creek. It probably wouldn't hurt for months or even years but if it is a nasty one it could be a problem during a drought when the fish are stressed.

    Please, find a new aquarium or give them to somebody else but dont put them back into a wild stream. There are already a couple of Aquarium diseases out there that the Authorities are trying to use to get imported aquarium fish banned. There is Goldfish Ulcer Disease in our Silver Perch and it has been proven that Gourami Iridovirus can transfer to Murray Cod.

    If you want to find out more about that sort of thing you can give me a call. The NT are having an Ornamental Fish review to mesh in the the national Ornamental Fish review. There has been parts one and two, already and you can have a read of "A Straregic Approach to The Management of Ornamental Fish in Australia" on The Australian Governemnt web site the next stage is coming. The document is free and available as a pdf from

    Most will not bother reading this but it is this document and others like it that will help the law makers determine future laws and regulations that relate to our aquarium fish and other critters we all enjoy.

    All efforts have been made to compile information in one place and to all possible accuracy, however both myself and Aquariumlife forums take no responsibility if information supplied is wrong/out of date/etc.

    Enjoy guys.
    Last edited by tkdwarrior; 10-10-08, 10:22 PM. Reason: updated info from PeterJ and BrianS
    48x24x24" Australian Native tank; 48x24x28" South American (In Build); 24x12x15"; 24x12x12"; 24x16x10"
    Nikon D200 w/ 50mm f1.8AF

  • #2
    This is a good thread you have started and it will be great when a few people chip in and finish it off.

    I just gave it a quick look over and it seems to be the information they target recreational fishers with. There are a lot of protected freshwater fish to my knowledge, Honey Blue Eyes for starters. There must be a well put together list covering plants and fish that targets the Aquarium crowd as well. Good thread.


    • #3
      good idea

      good thinking TKD

      if this gets filled in a little more I will gladly make it a sticky

      Thanks for your efforts so far

      Read this very helpful thread on BSS .
      No pictures on your BSS advert? Then be prepared for it to be deleted ( read the rules )


      • #4
        still going Graeme Coopers numbs the pain of BORING
        48x24x24" Australian Native tank; 48x24x28" South American (In Build); 24x12x15"; 24x12x12"; 24x16x10"
        Nikon D200 w/ 50mm f1.8AF


        • #5
          not even a blank section yet for ACT, i'm insulted
          He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!


          • #6
            Feel like doing the regs for them the same way as everything else is done Mjay? I'll add it then..
            48x24x24" Australian Native tank; 48x24x28" South American (In Build); 24x12x15"; 24x12x12"; 24x16x10"
            Nikon D200 w/ 50mm f1.8AF


            • #7
              Originally posted by tkdwarrior View Post
              Feel like doing the regs for them the same way as everything else is done Mjay? I'll add it then..
              no, i might find out how many laws i am breaking
              He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!


              • #8
                Thanks for starting this thread tdkwarrior- and making it sticky Graeme.

                This is an issue I have been concerned about, interested in, and looking into for a little while now... (not to mention being confused about.... still)
                I've spoken to the senior officer of the Vic DPI about some of these issues- and though he was very friendly and helpful, and even generously... suggestive, it has been apparent to me so far that for the purposes of aquarium keeping- the laws for us are hardly clear cut or black and white.

                From what I have gathered- in this state at least- as indicated by tdkwarrior, the only supporting laws under which our 'puddle pirating' operates, are that of 'recreational fishing'. This means FISHING- as in catching with the intent to kill and eat, or catching to use as bait (for the purposes of using for catching other things to kill and eat).
                As far as I have managed to extract from Victoria's relevant authorities- catching aquatic life intentionally and specifically for aquarium 'use' MAY not necessarily be covered by such recreational fishing laws- and may at times (at the judgment or interpretation of the given enforcing officer of such laws??) be possible to be interpreted as being an activity that requires a different/further license or permit- such as something like a research permit...

                I am not making this up- nor am I trying to be confusing or cryptic. I am simply trying to communicate the lack of clear communication and understanding I have been able to establish via my personal direct enquiry to our State's relevant authority
                I am also not trying to just sling criticism or disregard at said relevant authorities... I know that they have their 'job' to do, and mostly this 'job' is generally for the wellbeing of our environment and ecosystems... its just that this 'job description' seems to have no paragraph relevant to our purposes...

                I guess what I am trying to say (again at least in this state) is that one might need to be (depending on who is asking- and their understanding of our 'grey areas') a little careful and sensitive as to how they present themselves.

                The best, most helpful and friendliest (though frustrating) advice I could understand on this was-

                IF you are a 'recreational fisherman' (as per the commonly understood definition) who has any and every relevant license and is fishing within the governing equipment, species and catch/size limits and regulations... then there SHOULD be no problem. SHOULD!

                aside from that of course, and under and within the laws that we tentatively operate under, we must use our own judgments and care- and I would hope that these judgements might be more ecologically considerate than simply what the extent of the laws MAY allow us to do....

                hopefully this stuff becomes a bit more clear soon.
                Last edited by pisc; 14-06-08, 01:22 AM.


                • #9
                  brilliant point pisc. thanks for adding that - i meant to add something along those lines but got tired of looking through all the regs and compiling it all so it was semi-useful for the guys and girls here

                  If anyone feels like finding out what species are pest/noxious aside from QLD, it would be much appreciated. I had a quick dig and couldn't find much at all. It would probably be one of the more relevant points of information.

                  Oh, and thanks to Aqualife. Couldn't have finished it (literally) without help from above, so to speak
                  48x24x24" Australian Native tank; 48x24x28" South American (In Build); 24x12x15"; 24x12x12"; 24x16x10"
                  Nikon D200 w/ 50mm f1.8AF


                  • #10
                    Hi, I'm a bit late.

                    The fish listed as protected for Qld are marines of commercial interest, protected under the fisheries act. There are also fish protected under the Nature Conservation Act which cannot be caught or sold in Queensland. There aren't many, currently: Elizabeth Springs goby (Chlamydogobius sp. A); Edgbaston goby (Chlamydogobius sp. B); red-finned blue-eye (Scaturinginichthys vermeilipinnis); oxleyan pygmy perch (Nannoperca oxleyana); and honey blue-eye (Pseudomugil mellis) see the wildlife regulation.


                    • #11
                      I went looking through the Qld stuff for this and couldn't find it. This info is very similar to the NSW rules. This comes from the "Freshwater Fishing in Queensland - A guide to stocked waters". These drawings make it easy, but bear in mind that it's always checking on the latest rules and regs ...


                      • #12
                        Updated, thanks BrianS
                        48x24x24" Australian Native tank; 48x24x28" South American (In Build); 24x12x15"; 24x12x12"; 24x16x10"
                        Nikon D200 w/ 50mm f1.8AF


                        • #13
                          In Queensland there is a few protected Aquatic plants that fall into the ,can not have at all category and you get you but kicked.
                          Not even aquatic nurseries can have them yet, although there is a few working on it and may have permission now.
                          They are Aponogeton sp (all native ones) and Vallisneria Gracilis thin val, there may be more but they are ones I have been in strife for.

                          Regards Bob


                          • #14
                            OH yes and Jungle Perch you are permitted one under 35cm.
                            Unless you buy commercial breed ones and they will be around soon.


                            • #15
                              Great informations,
                              Thanks alot


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