Line fisheries licensing and management areas

From 1 September 2021, there are new rules and reporting requirements for Queensland commercial fisheries.

Find fact sheets on the new rules and reporting requirements.

If you participate in commercial line fishing, it's important that you are aware of licensing arrangements and management areas.


The following licensing arrangements apply to Queensland's commercial line fisheries:

  • The fisher must have a commercial fisher licence.
  • The boat must be licensed under a commercial fishing boat licence (CFBL).
  • The boat licence must be officially endorsed for the particular fishery (i.e. marked with the symbol that identifies the fishery).
  • Some species (coral reef fin fish and Spanish mackerel) operate under quota management, therefore quota is also required to take those species.

No new licences, symbols or quota are issued for existing fisheries. To enter a line fishery, you must first obtain the correct licence (CFBL) and fishery symbols from an existing licence holder. Licences and quota can be transferred from person to person, and fishery symbols can be transferred from one licence to another licence.

Management areas

The line fisheries operate in specified tidal waters out to the Queensland offshore constitutional settlement boundary, extending east from the Queensland-Northern Territory border to include a large part of the Gulf of Carpentaria, north around the tip of Cape York Peninsula, and then south along the east coast of Queensland to the Queensland-New South Wales border.

The commercial line fisheries operate in 4 main areas:

  • the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  • south of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to the New South Wales border
  • the Gulf of Carpentaria
  • in waters deeper than 200m outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Of these areas, the Great Barrier Reef, with its many reefs and vast areas of shallow water, is by far the most heavily fished by commercial line fishers. It accounts for about 85% of total harvest in the commercial line fishery. The Gulf of Carpentaria accounts for about 8% and the area south of the Great Barrier Reef accounts for about 7%.

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