Bowfishing for Carp

From 4 December 2015 through to 4 June 2017, DPI conducted an 18-month trial of legal bowfishing in NSW inland waterways.

Under current legislation, bowfishing (as well as spearfishing) is not permitted in NSW inland waters. During the trial, bowfishers were able to apply for a special permit (under Section 37 of the Fisheries Management Act 1994) allowing them to bowfish and were subject to special conditions to manage the activity.

The trial is now closed. DPI has commenced a review through an external consultant to determine whether bowfishing in inland waters should be made a legal, recreational activity in NSW.

What is bowfishing

Bowfishing is a crossover between fishing and hunting. Bowfishers use specialised archery equipment (fishing arrows and reels attached to traditional recurve and compound bows) to shoot and retrieve fish.

What are Carp?

Carp are an introduced freshwater species that are a noxious fish in NSW.

They have a significant impact on freshwater ecosystems as they damage vegetation, compete with native fish and degrade water quality.

Read more about the damaging effects of Carp.

How the program will be evaluated

Areas that are under consideration in the trial review include:

  • How many bowfishers participated.
  • Whether there were any economic benefits for the State.
  • Whether participants complied with the rules.
  • The number of Carp removed from NSW inland waterways.
  • Any impacts on native species.
  • Whether there were any safety incidents.
  • The types of interactions bowfishers had with other waterway users.