Net fishery regulations

The following regulations apply to Queensland's commercial net fisheries.

Read the fisheries legislation for detailed information.

Harvest strategies

Queensland net fisheries are currently managed under 2 harvest strategies:

  • east coast inshore harvest strategy
  • Gulf of Carpentaria hammerhead harvest strategy.

Note: The Gulf of Carpentaria inshore fishery is being considered for fishery reform in line with the Queensland Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017–2027. The Gulf of Carpentaria hammerhead harvest strategy will remain in place until broader harvest strategies are developed and implemented.

Monitoring and reporting

Commercial line fishers must comply with a number of reporting requirements.

In summary, fishers must:

Under Queensland fisheries legislation, people who commercially fish or buy coral reef fin fish or Spanish mackerel are required to meet additional catch reporting requirements.

Commercial fishers must also have vessel tracking on their boats to monitor compliance with regulations.


Regulations of the east coast inshore fishery include:

  • The fishery operates on the east coast, eastward of longitude 142°31'49"E.
  • The fishery is managed under the east coast inshore harvest strategy.
  • The fishery is a multi-gear, multi-species fishery that harvests approximately 100 species using net and line gear. The following fishery symbols specify permitted gear and target species
    • N1 – general purpose mesh netting
    • N2 – set mesh netting
    • N4 – offshore waters
    • N10 – tunnel netting
    • N11 – small mesh netting
    • K1-8 – ocean beach seine/haul netting
    • L1 – line fishery (other than in Great Barrier Reef)
    • L2 – line fishery (reef)
    • L3 – line fishery (reef)
    • S – shark and ray fishery (must also have another symbol).
  • To operate in the fishery, fishers must have
    • a primary commercial fishing licence
    • at least 1 eligible net or line fishery symbol
    • unused quota units to retain tier 1 species–barramundi, king threadfin, grey mackerel, whiting (management region 5 only) and school mackerel (management region 5 only).
  • The person in charge of an operation must hold a commercial fisher licence, in order to operate under a primary commercial fishing licence.
  • The fishery is managed by setting total allowable commercial catch (TACC) limits for key species–some TACCs are competitive and some TACCs are split into individual transferrable quota units allocated to each licence.
  • A number of closed seasons and waters apply to the fishery, including additional gear restrictions at different times of the year.
  • Barramundi is a no-take species between 1 November and 31 January each year.
  • Snapper and pearl perch are no-take species between 15 July and 15 August each year.
  • Two 5-day coral reef fin fish spawning closures around the moon phase in October and November each year.
  • Permitted fishing equipment varies across fishing symbols and fishing areas, and is outlined under the relevant symbol provisions listed in the Fisheries (Commercial Fisheries) Regulation 2019.
  • Size and form requirements apply to reef fish species.
  • Reef fish can be taken using fishing lines, with the following restrictions
    • a primary boat can be up to 25m long and have up to 7 tender boats up to 10m long – except if operating under an L3 symbol, which allows the primary boat to have 1 tender boat up to 10m long
    • if fishing under an L1, L2 or L3 symbol, a maximum of 3 fishing lines at the same time and a total of 6 hooks or lures attached per person
    • fishing under an L8 symbol
      • drop lines or bottom set lines can be used, but not at the same time
      • maximum of 6 drop lines with a float and up to 50 hooks attached to each line
      • maximum of 3 bottom set lines and 300 hooks with a float attached to the end of each line
      • floats must be solid, light-coloured and no less than 30cm in any dimension
      • a person must be within 100m of a line or group of lines while they are in use.

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