Responsible Fishing Guidelines

NSW DPI promotes responsible fishing at all times. Recreational fishers are encouraged to adopt the following set of guidelines to minimise their impact on the environment and other members of the community. This helps to maintain a positive reputation and social licence for the fishing community. Educate yourself on these responsible fishing methods and techniques to help ensure great fishing into the future! Live for fishing, fish for life!

Kids jetty

Safety first

  • Be safe when you fish and with what you choose to harvest. Do not take any undue risks. Remember - fishing safely not only includes actions that impact yourself, but also those around you.
  • For more information see: Fishing Safely and Food Safety.

Safeguard our waterways

  • Be familiar with rules and fish accordingly. Download the FishSmart app to carry the rules with you when you go fishing. Become familiar with threatened and protected species.
  • Only catch sufficient fish for your immediate needs. Release all others using best practice catch and release techniques. Remember all fish, including scavengers, are important to the ecosystem and should be treated with respect.
  • Act responsibly when you have reached your bag limit and you remain in the fishing grounds. Ensure any additional fish caught have the best chance of survival on release. If you are fishing in deep water, consider moving to a different location to reduce potential discard mortality.
  • If you suspect illegal fishing activity, contact your local NSW DPI fisheries office or fishers watch phone line on free call 1800 043 536 or report online.
  • If you have a passion for fish and fishing and you'd like to help protect our aquatic habitat, why not think about becoming a Fishcare Volunteer? Find out more information.
  • When you have the opportunity, consider participating in research on recreational fishing and our citizen science projects.
  • Report any suspected aquatic pest or disease to your local fisheries office or use this form

Release fish

Show respect for the community and your catch

  • Be considerate and respectful of others and treat people the way you would want to be treated.
  • Consider other water users and do your best to limit your impact on them whilst they are enjoying the environment.
  • Be conscious of beach goers, swimmers and surfers when fishing and do what you can to make sure your activity doesn’t negatively impact their experience or safety. Try to avoid busy areas, keep your distance, act responsibly and monitor people’s activity at all times.
  • Be aware of people walking dogs and be conscious that dogs will likely be drawn to the smell of bait, fish or waste and take precautions to minimise the chance of having your bait taken or the dog getting caught on a baited hook.
  • Keep noise to a minimum, especially in residential areas.
  • Look out for fellow fishers and other members of the community.
  • If you retain your catch, dispatch all fish and invertebrates swiftly and humanely. Limit stress by not holding fish in keeper nets before they are dispatched. Maintain eating quality by dispatching quickly, and always chilling your catch immediately (with ice or by placing it in an ice slurry).
  • Do not interfere with others practicing lawful fishing activities, cultural fishers, commercial fishers, or commercial fishing gear.

Preserving wildlife and the places we love to fish