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Net-free fishing zones

Net-free zones in Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton are closed to all commercial netting. These zones were introduced in November 2015 to increase recreational fishing opportunities, supporting tourism and economic growth in regional areas.

Net-free zone boundaries

The following maps show the boundaries of the net-free zones:

Fishing in net-free zones

Activities prohibited in the net-free zones:

  • commercial fishers cannot use commercial nets (including to collect bait for personal use) in the net-free zones
  • commercial fishers cannot operate in the net-free zones under any of the following commercial netting symbols – N1, N2, N4, N10, N11, K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, K6, K7, K8.

Activities permitted in the net-free zones:

  • commercial fishers can go crabbing, line fishing and trawling in net-free zones – in areas permitted under legislation
  • recreational fishers can use cast nets and bait nets in net-free zones – in areas permitted under legislation (nets must be lawful and comply with length and mesh size restrictions).

For further details about restrictions in the net-free zones, refer to fisheries legislation.

Assistance schemes report

Assistance schemes associated with the introduction of net-free zones were implemented in 2015 and 2016 to reduce the potential for increases in fishing effort in other areas and fisheries.


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