Fishing permits

Fisheries Queensland issues permits that allow the use of non-prescribed apparatus, release of fingerlings into Queensland waters, or development of a new or under-exploited fishery, or that generally authorise activities that are otherwise unlawful.

Permits (in any jurisdiction administered by Queensland) are not renewable or transferable; therefore, they are only supplied when they are first issued, or after a successful application to amend details of the permit.

General fisheries permit

You will need to submit a general fisheries permit application if you want to engage in activities that are not normally allowed under fisheries legislation. To be eligible, you will need to provide a good, evidence-based reason why this permit should be issued for the requested activity.

Example activities that may be approved include:

  • research projects
  • educational activities
  • trialling new gear
  • getting temporary relief from natural disasters.

Example commercial activities unlikely to be approved include:

  • use of additional apparatus
  • use of additional authorities from a single vessel
  • harvest of noxious fish species
  • taking species not permitted in a fishery.

Applications to undertake a commercial activity covered by an existing authority will not be approved.

Every application for a general fisheries permit received by Fisheries Queensland will be considered on its own merits. Applicants must be able to demonstrate how their application relates to fisheries legislation, and how their proposed activity is consistent with its objectives.

You will need to submit a written proposal with your application describing your intended activities including:

  • information about the species
  • the number of specimens you wish to take
  • the location of your activity
  • the gear you intend to use.

If your application affects an area subject to a native title claim, the indigenous organisations concerned will be notified by the department of your proposed action.

Stocking permit

You will need to submit a general fisheries permit (stocking Queensland waters) application if you represent a registered stocking group that wants to introduce fingerlings to Queensland waters including a dam, stream, or other waterway that is publicly owned.

Developmental fishing permit

You will need to submit a developmental fishing permit application if you want to participate in a developmental fishery.

When applying, you will need to provide information about:

  • the species you intend to target
  • the tonnage you expect to take
  • details about the apparatus you want to use
  • a description of the primary boat and any tenders you intend to use
  • the proposed area of operation (also provide maps)
  • prospective markets
  • your fishing experience.

Fisheries Queensland collects data from your participation under this permit to investigate the viability of a proposed new fishery. A developmental fishery does not always become formalised as a new fishery.

Application timelines


We aim to assess the majority of permit applications within acceptable timelines. Sometimes this process takes longer because the application is inherently complex, or not all the information is provided at the time of application. Waiting for additional information from the applicant does slow the assessment process.

The table below shows our target timelines for making a decision on permit applications.

Application type Target timeframe for decision
Research permit 80% within 30 business days
General fisheries permit 80% within 30 business days

Stocking permit

80% within 60 business days
General fisheries permit (in the Great Barrier Reef where negotiation with GBRMPA is required) 80% within 60 business days
Indigenous fisheries permit 80% within 90 calendar days
Developmental fisheries permit 80% within 90 calendar days

Note: Timeframes for development approvals for marine plants, fish barriers and aquaculture are set out by the State Assessment and Referral Agency.