Australia’s fishing zone is the world’s third largest (total of 8,148,250 square kilometres) and the home to more than 5500 known species of fish. Our finfish resources are shared between many diverse user groups, including commercial and recreational fishers, tour operators and the wider community. The industry is important to the national economy both directly, and via support industries such as seafood supply and tourism, and in valuable export dollars.

The health of both Australia’s commercial and recreational fishing industries relies entirely on healthy, well-managed fisheries resources. This not only means the health of the fish species upon which the industries depend, but also on the health of fish habitat and of Australia's freshwater and marine environments in general.

RECREATIONAL ANGLING is one of Australia's largest outdoor activities. Each year, more than 3.5 million keen anglers enjoy fishing for sport and recreation. While most Australians live on the coastal fringe, close to estuaries, bays, inlets and ocean waters, freshwater fishing is also popular in inland lakes, rivers and streams.

The enormous popularity of recreational fishing can contribute to both overfishing and the destruction of vital fish habitat. However, anglers can help preserve fish populations and fish habitat by taking care to not damage the environment, understanding and complying with fishing regulations, bag and size limits, taking no more than they need, and quickly returning unwanted fish back into the water.

COMMERCIAL FISHERIES in Australia are managed in Commonwealth waters by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). Within State waters, both commercial and recreational fishing is managed by the various State Fisheries agencies.


Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere: Fisheries

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Fisheries Research and Development Agency (FRDC)


Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales Department of Primary Industries: Fishing

Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources: Fisheries

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

South Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regions: Fishing

Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Victoria Victorian Fisheries Authority

Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development: Fisheries

Cite this page as:

Bray, D.J. 2020. Fishing, in Fishes of Australia, accessed [date viewed],