2023-24 Survey of Recreational Fishing in NSW

Recreational fishing is one of NSW’s most popular pastimes and the department 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 and up-to-date information on recreational catch, effort and participation in NSW.


Collage of people fishing Routine monitoring of recreational fishing in NSW is undertaken by the department via the Recreational Fisheries Monitoring Program (RFMP). The RFMP commenced in 2017, and undertakes telephone-diary surveys of recreational fishers every 2 years, as well as on-board observer monitoring of the NSW charter boat fleet. The telephone-diary surveys create an ongoing time series of recreational catch, effort, participation and motivational factors, which are used in resource assessment, harvest strategy development, and to support management of recreational fisheries within NSW.

The first telephone-diary survey of recreational fishing in NSW was undertaken as part of the National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey in 2000/01 and was followed by a second state-wide survey in 2013-14. Routine RFMP surveys have built on these earlier surveys and the latest state-wide survey of recreational fishing has just commenced for 2023-24.

The RFMP is jointly funded by the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Survey Objectives and Methods

The 2023-24 survey aims to find out who goes fishing, how often and for how long, where they fish and what they catch. This 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 August to October 2023, 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 2023-24.

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 2023 and continue for 12 months until the end of October 2024.

How can recreational fishers help?

Research and 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 work 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 is critical in maintaining a sustainable recreational fishery into the future.

Further Information

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