The Inland Restricted Fishery is a small commercial fishery that operates primarily in the waters of the Murray-Darling, targeting carp and yabbies only. A total of 26 endorsements (21 Class A, 3 Class B, and 2 Class D) authorise commercial fishing in inland waters.
Commercial fishers catch yabbies using "Opera House" yabby traps fitted with by-catch reduction devices. Carp are caught most commonly using hauling nets and meshing nets, however fyke nets, pound nets, traps and electro-fishing are sometimes used, with all methods subject to stringent permit conditions to prevent by-catch of native species.
Carp are presently considered an under utilised resource. Poor quality controls, lack of stable supply and consumer perception problems have limited financial returns and thus limited the targeting of carp by commercial fishers to date.
At present carp in Australia is being used for a diverse range of products, with small quantities being directed towards human consumption markets locally and internationally. However, more commonly carp is being used in low value high quantity fertiliser, stock feed, pet food or as lobster bait. Yearly prices average from $2.00 - $2.50 per kilo at the Sydney and Melbourne markets.
The targeting of carp by commercial operators will assist in the management and control of this pest species, having benefits for the environment and the community while providing new commercial opportunities.
Commercial fishing for yabbies commenced in 1974/75, but catches have subsequently shown large variability. Yabby populations naturally fluctuate in “boom and bust” cycles, predominantly due to changes in environmental conditions including cycles of water availability.
The commercial market for yabbies is mainly directed towards human consumption, however some small markets for bait fishing also exist.
The Inland Restricted Fishery is managed by input controls, including restriction on the numbers of fishers involved; limiting fishing effort and gear selectivity through trap and net numbers, construction, and setting time restrictions; and by spatial (area) fishing closures.
Commercial fishers targeting yabbies have access to all waters west of the Newell Highway with the exception of closures put in place for the protection of platypus and air breathing animals, aggregating fish stocks adjacent to specified weirs/regulators, and waters situated within a 5km radius of specified towns. This 5km radius is measured from each town’s post office.
Commercial fishers targeting carp have access to all NSW inland waters on the proviso that there are no impacts on native finfish. Each commercial fisher must obtain a permit to use commercial methods (including meshing and hauling nets), and notify the local District Fisheries Officer at least 48 hours prior to carp fishing being undertaken. This allows Fisheries NSW to assess the proposed fishing area and fishing methods for any impacts to native finfish. If impacts on native finfish are determined likely, Fisheries NSW will not approve that fishing activity.
Commercial fishers targeting yabbies may use up to 100 “Opera House” yabby traps. Each commercial yabby trap must be marked with the commercial fishers name and Fisheries NSW File number. Each trap must be fitted with a by-catch reduction device and must not be set for a period greater than 48 hours.
With access to native finfish ceasing as of 1 September 2001, and removal of commercial netting methods from regulation, it is recognised that new or alternative methods may be required to catch viable quantities of carp. Hauling nets, meshing nets, fyke nets, pound nets, traps and electro-fishing equipment have been authorised via permit to catch carp, subject to stringent conditions relating to by-catch. Commercial fishers who wish to use methods other than rod and line (or handline) may apply for a permit through the Carp Fishing Proposal Committee (no fee is payable).
The purchase of a transferable endorsement and fishing business from an existing commercial fisher is the primary means of gaining access to the Inland Restricted Fishery. The business owner may also nominate another commercial fisher under their business, commonly through a leasing arrangement.
The following Inland Restricted Fishery endorsements are transferable in accordance with the regulations.
Endorsements may be transferred fee free using FishOnline, or by manual transfer with the associated fee.
In accordance with the Fisheries Management (General) Regulations 2010, additional access to the fishery can be gained under clause 181, “ballot or tender” for issue of further endorsements, or clause 182, issue of a Class D carp non-transferable endorsement based on “special eligibility” grounds.
However, the preferred method on entry into the fishery is purchasing an existing endorsement from a commercial inland restricted fisher.
A current commercial fishing licence and a commercial boat licence (if relevant) is required when operating under an endorsement within the Inland Restricted fishery. An annual endorsement fee is payable to contribute to management costs. See Licensing and forms for further information on fees and charges
For further information contact the Inland Restricted Fishery Manager on 1300 726 488.
For more information on the NSW inland fishery, read: