2019-20 Survey of Recreational Fishing in NSW

Recreational fishing is one of NSW’s most popular pastimes and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is committed to ensuring quality recreational fishing opportunities and ensuring sustainable management of our fisheries resources into the future. To achieve these goals it is important to have ongoing, accurate, up-to-date information on recreational catch, effort and participation in NSW.


Collage of people fishing

In 2000-01, NSW participated in the National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey (NRIFS). The NRIFS provided a benchmark for the assessment of recreational fishing and found that over 1 million NSW residents participated in recreational fishing during the course of the survey. The survey also showed that recreational fishing is an activity that brings significant social and economic benefits to the community.

During 2013-14, a major state-wide survey was conducted which enabled us to measure changes in the recreational fishery that had occurred since the NRIFS. The results of the survey were published in the Fisheries Final Report Series (PDF, 3900.7 KB) and summary of the results as a pamphlet (PDF, 2396.3 KB).

DPI has since conducted a third state-wide survey of recreational fishing. This survey was conducted in 2017-18 and will provide further information necessary for monitoring and managing our valuable fisheries resources. A report detailing the results of the 2017-18 survey will be available by early 2020.

A fourth state-wide survey of recreational fishing has now been commenced for 2019-20.

Survey Objectives and Methods

The 2019-20 survey aims to find out who goes fishing, how often and for how long, where they fish and what they catch. This simple information will provide indicators to measure how the recreational fishery is performing in comparison with previous surveys.

The survey will be run in two main phases:

1) Screening Survey – from September to October 2019, recreational fishers who possess a current NSW 1 or 3 year fishing licence will be randomly selected and asked to complete a short questionnaire to determine whether they have been fishing recently and whether they intend to fish during 2019-20.

2) Diary Survey – recreational fishers who indicate an intention to fish in the coming 12 months are invited to participate in the diary survey. The diary survey will commence 1 November 2019 and continue for 12 months until the end of October 2020.

How can recreational fishers help?

The management of recreational fisheries is most successful when there is effective collaboration between government and recreational fishers. By working together, we can ensure the best outcomes for recreational fishing both now and into the future. The ultimate success of this project therefore relies heavily on the cooperation of the recreational fishing community. Importantly, all research is conducted on a completely voluntary and confidential basis.

So whether you fish a lot or only occasionally, please help out if you are contacted to participate in the survey. The information collected will be of immense value in maintaining a sustainable recreational fishery into the future.

Further Information

If you require further information regarding the survey, please contact:

Mr Jeff Murphy
Project Coordinator
02 4222 8340
0427 501 625

Dr Faith Doyle
Research Scientist
02 6626 1112
0428 237 797

Dr Julian Hughes
Research Scientist
02 9435 4671
0411 788 436

The 2019-20 Survey of Recreational Fishing in NSW is supported with funding from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts.