Fishing Gear Restrictions

Lady with fishing rodThe licence holder must personally set and retrieve any scalefish fishing gear and another person may assist them if needed e.g. to haul the net.  Read about requirements for aboriginal fishing.

Hooks and Lines

No licence is required and anyone can fish with the following types of line fishing gear in marine waters:
  • rod and line; and
  • squid jigs.

Rod and Line

You can use any number of lines with up to five hooks, so long as you are within 20 metres of the gear, or the lines are attached to the boat from which you are fishing.

Electric Reels

Electric reels can be used with no more than 5 hooks.  You must remain within 20 metres of your gear.

Auxiliary Fishing Gear

Auxiliary fishing gear such as kites and balloons can be used to deploy or retrieve not more than 200 metres of fishing line with 5 hooks or less.  This gear is not permitted in rivers or shark refuge areas.  To reduce the risk of interactions with other water users or losing gear near them, you can not use auxiliary gear within 100 metres of swimmers or any vessel or within 400 metres of a boat ramp, jetty or mooring.

Auxiliary fishing gear can be used on a boat.  If using auxiliary fishing gear from land you must remain within 20 metres of the gear and not use it more than 20 metres from the high water mark.  Auxiliary gear does not include electric reels, capstans or haulers used for set lines.

Set Lines

Drop lineA set line is an unattended line, either a dropline (see larger dropline image) or a longline (see larger longline image), with up to 15 hooks. A licence is required to use this gear and area restrictions apply. The licence holder must be present when the line is set and retrieved.
  • A person may only use one set line at a time.
  • In waters less than 150 metres deep, you can join your set line to the line of one other person on your boat provided no person uses more than 15 hooks and not more than a total of 30 hooks are used on the combined line.
  • In waters more than 150 metres deep, you can join your set line to the lines of up to 3 other people on your boat, provided no person uses more than 15 hooks or more than a total of 60 hooks are used on the combined line.
  • Set line marker buoys must be clearly marked with your licence number and either the letters "LL" for longline or "DL" for dropline.  The buoys must be at least 195mm in diameter
  • Not more than 4 set lines are permitted on a boat.
  • Set lines cannot be set at night.  Night is defined as from one hour before sunset ot one hour before sunrise.
A dropline is set vertically with one end weighted and a marker buoy attached to the other. When droplines are joined together, each fisher must have a separate marker buoy attached.

A longline is set horizontally, weighted at both ends and with a buoy attached at each end. When longlines are joined together, each fisher must have a separate marker buoy on each end of the line.

Long line









Set lines cannot be used in some restricted areas including:
  • shark refuge areas;
  • no netting areas; and
  • no fishing areas e.g marine reserves and some research areas.
Learn more about using Recreational Droplines or Recreational Longlines

Recreational fisher with jig caught squid at Margate

Squid Jigs

A squid jig is a baited or artificial lure with one or more sets of pointed hooks or spikes used to take squid.  You can use up to three squid jigs per line.

Gaffs (Gaff Hook)

You can use gaffs to take scalefish, other than bream and boarfish, but not rock lobster or abalone.

Spear Guns and Hand Spears

Hand spears and spear guns can be used to take any scalefish except bream and boarfish. Taking rock lobster or abalone with this gear is prohibited. Spears cannot be used in the Mersey, Leven or Inglis rivers, other than to spear flounder.
Fishing spear 

Rock Lobster Fishing Gear

See Rock Lobster Gear and How to Mark it.

Bait Traps

One bait trap per person can be used. The trap must comply with the following dimensions:
  • no larger than 500 mm x 350 mm x 250 mm
  • must not have more than two entrances with each entrance not larger than 65 mm
  • mesh between 10 mm and 40 mm.
Unattended bait traps must have a buoy or tag attached marked with "BT" and the user's surname, initials, year of birth and postcode.
Bait Pump

Bait Pumps


A hand-operated bait pump with a barrel of less than 85 mm may be used.

Landing Net

A landing net is a hand-held net attached to a frame no larger than 600 mm across. The mesh can be any size and a landing net may be used to catch bait.

Dip Net

A dip net (see larger dip net image) is a hand held net attached to a frame no larger than 1 metre across with a mesh greater than 20 mm.

Dip net

Hauling and Cast Nets

Bait net

You can used one bait net. A bait net is an encircling net:
  • no longer than 6 m;
  • no deeper than 2 m; and
  • with mesh no more than 20 mm.

Beach Seine Net

A beach seine net licence allows you to possess and use one beach seine net (see larger image).
Beach seine net






A beach seine net must:
  • be an encircling net that does not exceed 50 m in length;
  • have a bag or bunt or a panel that forms a bunt with a mesh of at least 30 mm;
  • not be pursed or drawn through rings into the shape of a bag; and
  • be emptied while in the water.
Learn more about using a Recreational Beach Seine Net

Cast Net

You can use one cast net (see larger cast net image). The net must be:
  • circular or oval net with a leaded footline around the outside; and
  • not exceed 6 m in diameter.
Cast net











Gillnets

Graball nets and mullet nets, including flounder nets, are types of gillnets (see larger gillnet image). A graball net licence or mullet net licence allows you to possess and use only one graball net or one mullet net in state waters.  Area Restrictions apply.
Gillnet - thumbnail






  • No more than three gillnets may be carried on, or used from a single boat.
  • A gillnet cannot be used as an encircling net, eg. as a beach seine net.

Soak Times

  • Gillnets cannot be set at night, other than graball nets set in Macquarie Harbour. Night is defined as between one hour before sunset to sunrise.
  • Gillnets may be set for up to 6 hours, except in Shark Refuge Areas where they may only be set for up to 2 hours.
Weighting Your Net

All gillnets must be weighted in one of the following ways in order to prevent drift:
  • a weight of at least 2 kilograms tied to the bottom line at each end of the net; or
  • a weight of at least 4 kilograms tied to the bottom line at one end of the net; or
  • the net has a minimum weight, when dry, of at least 13 kilograms for a 50 metre net.

Macquarie Harbour

  • Night nets may be set in Macquarie Harbour from one hour before sunset and must be removed from the water by one hour after sunrise. A red buoy not less than 90mm in diameter must be attached to each end of all night nets in addition to 2 white buoys.
  • Day nets may be set from sunrise and must be removed from the water by one hour before sunset. They may be set for up to 6 hours and no red buoy can be attached.
**If you are netting in Macquarie Harbour, you may be able to help protect threatened Maugean skates. Learn how to identify this species.

Gillnet Buoys

Gillnets, including mullet, graball and flounder nets (a type of graball net) must be marked with two white buoys, one at each end of the net, that:
  • are specifically designed as a buoy;
  • float on the surface of the water;
  • are at least 195 mm in diameter at the widest point;
  • have no other markings other than the licence number; and
  • you must also identify the gear type by marking the buoy with a 'G' for graball, or 'M' for a mullet net, after the licence number.
Both the buoys must have the licence number clearly marked in figures not less than 70 mm high and 12 mm wide. Additional buoys may be used for visibility.

Mullet Net

One mullet net may be used and a licence is required. A mullet net:
  • is a single mesh net;
  • mesh must be between 60 mm and 70 mm (see diagram on net mesh measuring);
  • must not be longer than 25 metres;
  • must not be set over a rocky bottom;
  • must not be set in Shark Refuge Areas; and
  • is a gillnet and therefore must adhere to rules relating to weight, soak time and marking with buoys (see above).
Learn more about using a Recreational Mullet Net.

Graball Net

One graball net may be used and a licence is required. Flounder nets are a type of graball net. A graball net:
  • is a single mesh net;
  • mesh must be between 105 mm and 140 mm (see diagram on how to measure your net mesh);
  • must not be deeper than 33 meshes;
  • must not be longer than 50 metres; and
  • is a gillnet and therefore must adhere to rules relating to weight, soak time and marking with buoys (see above).
Learn more about using a Recreational Graball Net

Weight Specifications and Measuring Net Mesh

Weight Specifications

All gillnets must be weighted in one of the following ways in order to prevent drift:
  • A weight of not less than 2 kilograms tied to the bottom line at each end of the net; or
  • A weight of not less than 4 kilograms tied to the bottom line at one end of the net; or
  • When the net has a minimum weight, when dry, of not less than 13 kilograms for a 50 metre net.

How to Measure Net Mesh

Diagram showing how to stretch mesh - by pulling from left and right sides.

Stretch mesh until upper and lower knots touch

Diagram showing how to measure mesh - by pulling as tight as possible from sides. 

Measure mesh at full stretch

Lost, Stolen and Irretrievable Gear

If you leave your net in the water for longer than allowed due to bad weather conditions, illness or theft, contact the Marine Police on 0427 655 557 or your nearest Police Station and provide them with your licence number.

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