New commercial fishing activities

Contact Fisheries Queensland before undertaking a new commercial fishing enterprise.

Before getting involved in a new commercial fishing operation, consider:

Understand commercial fishing authorities

'Authority' is a generic term that covers:

  • licences
  • fishery symbols
  • permits
  • quota or effort units.


To start a new commercial enterprise in Queensland you need a:

Charter fishing has its own licence and regulations.

Fishery symbols

A primary commercial fishing licence includes fishery symbols that:

  • define the area where you can fish
  • how many tender boats you're allowed to use.

You can apply to add or transfer fishery symbols between primary commercial fishing licences.

Quota or effort units

Some commercial fisheries require quota or effort units to take certain fisheries resources (e.g. coral trout quota, trawl effort units).

You will need to lease or buy the number of units to land your catch.


You may need a permit for activities that are not normally allowed under another type of fisheries authority.

Getting started

The register of authorities lists current licences, permits and quota authorities issued by Fisheries Queensland.

Fisheries Queensland does not issue new:

  • primary commercial fishing licences
  • fishery symbols
  • quota units.

You'll need to find existing holders of other authorities and arrange to purchase and transfer them.

You can find licences, fishery symbols and quota units for purchase:

  • in newspapers or fishing industry magazines
  • through a fishing broker.

You can apply for a new commercial fishing licence.