Fishing Respectfully

Wharf Fishing

A healthy fishing future is in your hands and creating a positive community of fishers is fundamental to safeguarding our waterways and supporting sustainable fishing, ensuring thriving oceans and marine resources for generations to come. By protecting fish stocks and preserving and ensuring the places we love remain safe and accessible for all, we can maintain the incredible fishing experiences found in NSW.

Fishing spots can become quite crowded especially during holidays, long weekends and good weather days. Being a responsible fisher means being mindful of your surroundings and how you interact with others, including other fishers (commercial, cultural and recreational) tourists and water users.

For many, fishing is an enjoyable family friendly activity that creates bonds through quality time spent in the environment, sharing knowledge and fun together. It connects us with the natural world and can alleviate stress and keeps people active. Responsible fishers not only teach young fishers the basics of fishing, from casting out to unhooking fish, but also convey knowledge of responsibility, how to respect and interact with others, the importance of following rules and regulations and the proper way to fish ethically and sustainably.

This means that recreational fishers should always act responsibly when they are fishing or when they are travelling to and from their chosen fishing location. Fishers should also acknowledge that illegal actions by others can damage our aquatic environment and can also be harmful to people.

Acting responsibly means:

  • Being respectful of others and treating other people the way that 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. Keep your distance 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 scraps and take precautions to minimise the chance of having your bait taken or the dog getting caught on a baited hook.
  • Looking out for fellow fishers and other members of the community
  • Reporting illegal activity (if safe to do so) You can report illegal activity online.

Social licence for fishing is dependent on broad community acceptance and support of the activity. The broader community has a range of views on fishing including on the ethics of consumption of fish. To maintain social licence, recreational fishing must meet community standards on the ethical and humane treatment of fish, minimise impacts on the environment and be respectful to other members of the community to ensure a positive future for the sport.

Boating Respectfully

When taking the boat out to fish follow these tips to ensure a safe trip:

  • Follow NSW maritime rules and regulations.
  • Be ready to launch when arriving at the boat ramp. Long queues can lead to frustration. Make sure you are familiar with how to back up a boat trailer into the water before arriving at the boat ramp. Practicing on dry land in a safe way can save time and stress.
  • Be aware of your wake – not only in ‘slow zones’ if you’re passing other fishers, kayaks, swimmers or anyone out on the water you need to slow down. For fishers, in particular, the sound could scare off fish.
  • Give space to others fishing.
  • Boat rage can cause people to act uncharacteristically, highlighting the importance of being considerate of other people and treating others with respect.

Responsible fishing around oyster leases

The NSW Oyster industry supports valuable regional employment and investment. Please ensure that your vessel, your vessel’s wash and your fishing tackle does not interfere with any part of an oyster lease, including the Oysters. Hooks and lures abandoned on Oyster sticks, baskets and trays may cause serious injury to oyster industry workers so please fish responsibly around oyster leases. Boat wash may wash over Oyster crops from lease infrastructure and may pose significant risk of injury to industry workers on the lease. Do not tie up to lease marker posts. For more information on responsibly fishing around oyster leases, please check out this page and watch the video on responsible fishing around oyster leases.