Protected Species

​​​​​​​Protected Fish Species​

The following fish species are protected and must not be taken

Elephant Snail


Maugean Skate​​ (Endangered species)​

Threefin Blenny

Spotted Handfish

Red Handfish

Pipehorse species

Pipefish species

Bigbelly Seahorse

Weedy Seadragon

White Shark, Basking, Grey Nurse, Megamouth and Whale Sharks


The only exception is for limpets and elephant snails which may be taken by an Aborigine who is engaged in an Aboriginal activities.

​​​Other Threatened Marine Species

There are also a number of marine species that are threatened species and are protected under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. Many threatened marine species are also protected nationally under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 2000. This includes some birds, seals, turtles, sea stars and whales as well as four species of handfish and the great white shark.

A full list of the threatened species can be found in the Threatened Species section of this website. Check this site regularly to see if any new marine species have been added.

What To Do If I Accidentally Catch a Protected or Endangered Species​? 

​​​Protected Species 

​If you encounter, or even accidentally catch, a protected species, you must return the animal to where you found it regardless of whether it is alive or dead. Aboriginals engaged in an Aboriginal activity may take and possess limpets and elephant snails. 

​Threatened Species

​Threatened species cannot be taken without a permit for any reason, however you may encounter or accidentally catch, some of these species when fishing. If you think that you may have caught a threatened species, please try and return it to the water with as little damage as possible.

If it is injured or entangled in fishing gear please contact the DPIPWE Threatened Species Unit and they will advise you on what action might be required.

Maugean skate illustrationAlso contact the Threatened Species Unit to report dead threatened species. Where seals, birds, whales or dolphins are involved, contact the Marine Conservation Program on 0427 942 537.

Maugean Skate Alert

The Maugean skate (see illustration) is only found in Macquarie and Bathurst Harbours and its numbers are low. This protected species is sometimes accidently caught in gillnets or by rod and line. They must be returned to the water as soon as possible without harm. In some circumstance, you may need to cut the mesh to ensure the Maugean skates remain unharmed. ​Maugean skate may be distinguished from other skates by the elongated shape of the snout - which make it vulnerable to being captured in gillnets. It is important to adhere to the netting restrictions​, which have been implemented to reduce the likelihood of encountering Maugean skates. 

Illustrations by Peter Gouldthorpe


Threatened Species Section - Enquiries
GPO Box 44