Getting started in commercial fishing

If you want to become a commercial fisher, you must first obtain a commercial fishing boat licence.

Fisheries Queensland does not issue commercial fishing boat licences, so you will need to lease or buy a licence from an existing operator. These licences are advertised in newspapers or industry magazines, or are available through a shipping broker.

Your licence will let you operate in one or more fisheries. The fisheries in which you are authorised to operate are identified on your licence by fishery symbols. Fishery symbols can be moved between licences.

Queensland's commercial fisheries are regulated by Fisheries Queensland to ensure they remain sustainable. Regulations include controls on:

  • the number and types of boats that can operate in a fishery
  • the time and place of fishing
  • what you can catch
  • how much you can catch
  • the type of fishing gear you can use.

Before you become a commercial fisher, you need to consider the following:

  • what type of fishing you intend doing, in which location and when
  • any recent changes, known as investment warnings, for the fishery you are interested in
  • whether your boat meets the size and power limits
  • the fees involved in permanently or temporarily transferring licences and amending them for your intended fishing operations
  • the ongoing annual fees for holding authorities
  • whether you qualify for a commercial fisher licence (if you intend to operate your own boat). If you do not qualify, you will need to employ a licence holder to operate your boat until you qualify for a licence.

Details of licences, permits, and quota holdings for commercial fishing, and developmental approvals are held in the fisheries register of authorities.

For more information about getting started in Queensland's commercial fisheries, phone Fisheries Queensland on 13 25 23.