Fishing Licence & Licencing Information

NSW fishing licence [or fishing license]

When fishing on the Coast., both freshwater and saltwater, you are required to pay the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee and carry a receipt [and/or licence] showing the payment of the state fishing licence fee. This applies when spear fishing, hand lining, hand gathering, trapping, bait collecting and prawn netting or when in possession of fishing gear in, on or adjacent to waters. by calling 1300 369 365 (Visa and Mastercard only) from hundreds of standard and gold fishing fee agents, from most Kmart stores in NSW.

All money raised by the NSW Recreational Fishing licence Fee is placed into the Recreational Fishing Trusts and spent on improving recreational fishing in NSW. These trusts are overseen by two committees made up of recreational fishers - one for saltwater and one for freshwater fishing.

Plastic receipts now available

If you pay for a one year or three year period online, over the phone, at a Touch agent or if you renew your licence using your renewal letter, you will receive a plastic receipt in the post. Evidence of payment is your receipt number which must be able to be produced if requested by an authorised officer (until you receive your receipt in the post).

Note: If you pay for a 3 day or 1 month period, no receipt will be posted. Your fishing receipt must be carried whilst fishing. If you've lost your licence fee receipt, you can download an application for a replacement at

Fisheries Rules

NSW fisheries are a community-owned resource. We all have a responsibility to protect and safeguard this natural asset for present and future generations. There are comprehensive laws designed to ensure that fishing activities remain sustainable, and that biological diversity is protected.

Local NSW DPI Fisheries Offices maintain a comprehensive list of local fisheries rules and actively advises the public about these. It is important to understand that the information provided on this website only provides some of the controls that people need to abide by in respect to their fishing and other activities related to our aquatic resources. The local NSW DPI Fisheries Office should be contacted for the most comprehensive advice on activities that you are contemplating in an area.

Recreational fishers need to be aware of the fishing rules and regulations that apply to recreational fishing such as bag & size limits, methods, the use of traps and nets and other regulations.

Size and Bag Limits

Before you go fishing, you'll also need to get familiar with the bag and size limits and other rules. See

Bag limit is the maximum number of fish per person in possession. A maximum daily bag limit of 20 applies to any fish or invertebrate not included in the tables below. Bag limit comprised of any single species or a combination of listed grouped species. Protected and threatened species cannot be taken.


How to measure Fish

The overall measurement of a fish, whether it is fork-tailed or round tailed, is taken from the snout on the upper jaw to the end of the tail.
Abalone are measured along a straight line at the widest point of the shell.
Crabs, except spanner crabs, are measured along the body from the notch between the two most protruding frontal teeth to the centre of the posterior margin of the carapace or shell.
Spanner crabs are measured along the body from the base of the orbital notch (eye socket) to the centre of the posterior margin of the carapace.
Rock Lobsters (crayfish) are measured along the length of the carapace or head, along a straight line from the point of the union of the second antennae or large feelers to the centre of the posterior margin of the carapace or head, ignoring any attached hairs.
Murray Crayfish are measured from the rear of the eye socket to the centre rear of the carapace.

Fishing Charter boats, hire boats and fishing guides

If you're planning to fish from a charter boat, hire boat, or under the supervision of a fishing guide, ask the operator if you're covered by their exemption certificate. If the operator has paid an annual fee, you may not need to pay your own fishing fee receipt.

Check with the charter/hire boat operator, or guide, before you go fishing. If they do not hold a Recreational Fishing Fee Exemption Certificate you will need to pay the NSW recreational fishing licence fee. If you are unsure if you need a NSW recreational fishing licence fee receipt, call 1300 550 474 or refer to

Exemptions from the recreational fishing licence

According to the Department of Primary Industries website [as at Oct 2009] you are required to pay the NSW recreational fishing fee to fish in fresh and salt water in NSW unless you are:

  1. Under the age of 18.
  2. An adult assisting a person under the age of 18 to take a fish using a single rod or to take prawns using a single dip or scoop net.
  3. A person fishing in a private dam with a surface area of two hectares or less.
  4. An Aboriginal person fishing in freshwater; or, when fishing in saltwater, an Aboriginal person that is a party to a registered native title claim, or is taking part in a traditional cultural activity as a member of their local land council, or in the company of a member of the local land council.
  5. The holder of:
    • current Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card issued by Centrelink
    • current Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card issued by the Department of Veteran's Affairs.
    • Commonwealth Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Treatment Card endorsed "Totally and Permanently Incapacitated";
    • Commonwealth Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Treatment Card endorsed "Extreme Disablement Adjustment";
    • letter from the Commonwealth Department of Veterans Affairs stating that the person receive a disability pension of 70 per cent or higher, or an intermediate pension.

Please note that Senior's Cards, Health Care Cards and Repatriation Health Cards will not exempt you from paying the fishing fee.

Centrelink advises that only the person who signs the card where it reads "Signature of cardholder" is the holder of that card. If an additional person is listed on the card (usually a spouse), this relates to health care benefits and not to other exemptions/concessions available to the pensioner concession card-holder.

Rules and Regulations change all of the time so make sure to check the current laws. You need to have the license on you and for it to be visible. Don't get caught without one because the fine is steep for fishing without a licence ! [around $500 if not more].

Glossary of fishing terms:

commercial fishing licence, fishing licence fish, fishing licence holder, fishing licence online, fishing rod licence, fishing without a licence, non resident fishing licence, saltwater fishing licence, sport fishing licence, fishing license, gone fishin


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