Open for Comment

Application for a developmental
commercial fishing permit – Octopus

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has received and is considering an application for a developmental commercial fishing permit to harvest octopus using trigger traps. A description of the proposed fishing activity is provided below for your information.


  • Target
    • Gloomy octopus (Octopus tetricus)
    • Maori octopus (Macroctopus maorum)
  • By-product (not targeted but may be retained)
    • Pale octopus (Octopus pallidus)
    • Hammer octopus (Octopus australis)

Fishing gear

The proposed fishing activity will use a single vessel to set octopus trigger traps. Trigger traps are a highly-selective gear type that are baited with a rubber crab lure and/or a LED light. The traps have a single opening and a closing door mechanism at the front of the trap. More information on trigger trap design can be found at

Two trigger traps are placed side-by-side on a baseplate. The total assembly (termed a ‘cradle’) weighs approximately 26 kg (Figure 1). A string of cradles will be set and deployed on a demersal setline with a mooring rope and buoy at each end of the line (Figure 2). The cradles act to weigh the setline to the seabed.

Octopus trap

Figure 1 Cradle of three trigger traps (Hart, 2016)

Octopus trap line

Figure 2 Traps set on a demersal setline (Hart, 2016)

Between 25 and 50 cradles are set on a line, cradles will be spaced 10 to 40 metres apart. The demersal setline will range from 250 metres to 2,000 metres (surface float to float) in length. It is proposed that traps will remain in the water between two and seven days before retrieval.

A very small number of cradles may be deployed as individual units for the purpose of testing fishing areas.

Fishing area

The proposed activity would occur in NSW ocean waters, excluding any marine protected areas.

Traps will be set on sandy or silty substrates adjacent to, but no less than 30 metres from reef edges. Exploratory fishing will occur in depths from 10 – 80 metres, with most effort focussing on the 20 – 40 metre depth zone.

Have your say

DPI invites written submissions on the proposed fishing activity. The closing date for submissions is 4 November 2019. Send your submission to:


More information

Fiona McKinnon, Senior Fisheries Manager: (02) 6691 9625


Hart, A.M., Leporati, S.C., Marriott, R.J. and Murphy, D. 2016. Innovative development of the Octopus (cf) tetricus fishery in Western Australia. FRDC Project No 2010/200. Fisheries Research Report No. 270, Department of Fisheries, Western Australia. 120pp.



Harvest of Red Sea Urchin (Heliocidaris tuberculata) in the NSW Sea Urchin and Turban Shell Restricted Fishery is subject to an annual catch cap. This cap is determined by an independent committee known as the Total Allowable Fishing Committee (the TAF Committee), established under the Fisheries Management Act 1994.

The TAF Committee invites stakeholders and interest groups to make submissions on the appropriate level of the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for Red Sea Urchin for the 2020 fishing period (January to December inclusive).

Please note that, unless requested otherwise, submissions made to the TAF Committee are public documents, and therefore subject to Government information public access law.

The TAF Committee is required to give effect to the objects of the Fisheries Management Act 1994; to have regard to all relevant scientific, industry, community, social and economic factors; and to make a determination with respect to the commercial fisheries.

Legislation also requires the TAF Committee to have regard to:

  • The need to ensure that the exploitation of fisheries resources is conducted in a manner that will conserve fish stocks in the long term;
  • The impact of fishing activities on all species of fish and aquatic environment; and
  • The precautionary principle, namely, that if there are threats of serious or irreversible damage to fish stocks, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent that damage.

Submissions should be directed in writing to:

TAF Committee Chair

c/o Nicholas Giles

PO Box 4291

Coffs Harbour NSW 2450

Closing date for submissions is 11 October 2019

For further information, please contact Fisheries Manager Nicholas Giles on (02) 6691 9624.

Commercial Fishing Closures Proposed to be Made or Remade

Section 8 of the Fisheries Management Act 1994 provides for the Minister for Primary Industries to prohibit absolutely or conditionally the taking of fish or a specified class of fish from specified waters by notification published in the Government Gazette. Any such notification is called a "fishing closure". Fishing closures can be implemented to achieve many different outcomes, some of which include:

  • protect and conserve areas of key habitat
  • manage the amount of fishing effort in an area/region
  • manage resource sharing
  • minimise bycatch and the impacts of the fishery on threatened and protected species.

There are currently no closure proposals open for comment.