Learn how to be a responsible fisher. Everyone has a responsibility to help protect fish stocks for future generations.
Increasing fish survival
Use a dehooker to remove hooks and quickly release fish.
- Try to release fish while still in the water or minimise the time they are out of the water.
- Don't leave rods unattended.
- Use barbless or circle hooks.
- Avoid barotrauma (when the swim bladder expands when brought up from deep water) by bringing the fish slowly to the surface. Use a release weight to return it to the sea floor if you are not keeping it.
Use a fish dehooker to remove hooks and quickly release fish
Fish survival will be greatly improved if you:
- Return the fish to the water quickly and gently - don't throw it - in the area it was caught.
- Use landing nets with soft knot-free mesh to reduce harm to the fish's scales, eyes and fins.
- Handle fish with wet hands or a wet cloth. Don't put them on hot surfaces as it damages their protective slime.
Read more about How to Use a Fish De-Hooker How to Use a Fish De-hooker
- Hold large fish horizontally, not by the jaw or gills.
Handle fish using a wet cloth or wet hands
Humanely killing the fish you retain
All fish that are being kept should be killed quickly and humanely. The best method is by spiking the fish in the centre of the head immediately behind the eyes (called 'iki jime') with a sharp instrument.
The Iki Jime website describes the techniques for humanely dispatching various species of fish, such as flathead, bream, mullet, whiting, Australian Salmon, snapper, morwong and tuna.
For more information about humanely killing rock lobster, see the
Don't highgrade your catch
- Count and measure fish as you go to keep within catch limits.
- Highgrading your catch is not allowed. You can't bring more than your daily bag limit back to the boat or shore and sort them there.
- Fish are regarded as taken and in your possession as soon as collected and caught.
Fish waste and marine litter
Take your catch home and dispose of the waste with your household rubbish. If you clean fish at sea, dispose of fish waste away from shore.
Dispose of marine litter such as bait packaging, unwanted fishing line and plastic bags responsibly to reduce impacts on marine mammals and seabirds.
Reponsible gillnetting practices
If you use a gillnet,
be responsible for your actions
. Most importantly, know and follow the netting rules.
Before Leaving Home
- Check the length of the buoy lines and the general condition of the net. Too much line creates a hazard to wildlife and other boats.
- The weight bridle should be the weakest line in the net, so if it becomes snagged, the net can still be recovered.
- Don't set your net near fast flowing waters, divers or across boating channels.
- Be aware of other net users and leave at least 50 metres between nets.
- Identify a landmark or use a GPS when setting your net so you don't forget where it is.
Setting and Pulling the Net
- Check the weather and tides so you can safely retrieve the net.
- Check your net regularly to increase the survival of unwanted bycatch.
- Ensure the propeller is clear of any slack net or ropes.
Avoid Wildlife When Netting
- Avoid setting nets near seabird rookeries or where mammals are active.
- Visible panels on nets are seen by seabirds so mark your net in as many places as practical.
- Don't set your net in rough weather conditions. Lost gillnets can continue to "ghost net" in the marine environment.
If you use a gillnet, be responsible for your actions.
Reducing seal interactions
DO NOT FEED OR APPROACH SEALS! They learn through actions such as intended or accidental food rewards. Never use fish for a decoy or throw fish waste to seals.
- Never use fish for a decoy or throw fish waste to seals. This trains them to associate boats with an easy feeds.
- Avoid areas where seals are known to interact with fishers. If a seal takes your fish, move away.
- Keep noise to a minimum because seals have good hearing. Use matting on your boat and set gear quietly.
- Seals are curious and may approach and potentially swamp vessels, so be alert and observe marine safety rules.
- Don't discard fish waste at jetties or boat ramps. If you clean fish at sea, dispose of fish waste away from shore where there are no seals present.