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PA: “Know Your Limits” in Territory Waters

Tomorrow’s fishing starts today. Recreational fishing is an important part of the great Northern Territory lifestyle but to ensure the long-term sustainability of our world class fisheries it is important that all fishers play their part. Scientific evidence shows that golden snapper and black jewfish are being overfished and the sustainability of other popular reef fish is under threat in the greater Darwin area. To ensure there are fish for future generations to enjoy, our breeding fish and ‘at risk’ reef fish stocks must be protected from overfishing and allowed to recover. Following extensive public consultation with the recreational, tourism and commercial fishers, the NT Government developed a suite of management measures that balance rebuilding fish stocks while continuing to provide the great fishing opportunities for which the Territory is renowned.

New Fishing controls in the NT To keep recreational catches at sustainable levels and help reduce the potential for localised overfishing key changes include:

a reduction of the general personal possession limit from 30 to 15 fish; andnew species-specific possession limits, such as a reduction in golden snapper from five to three.

This still provides a generous quantity of fish to feed the family but helps protect our fish stocks. Aggregations of spawning schools of fish such as jewfish and golden snapper may be particularly vulnerable to concentrated fishing effort. A new two-tiered vessel limit will now apply to reduce large catches of ‘at risk’ reef fish by boats carrying large numbers of fishers. A network of reef fish protection areas with a temporary ban on fishing designed to protect and recover golden snapper, black jewfish and other ‘at risk’ reef species has been developed in key areas surrounding Darwin. This includes remote areas identified as having healthy stocks of breeding fish important for producing juveniles to replenish the inshore environment around Darwin. To help maintain an abundance of large ‘trophy’ fish that are highly sought after by anglers a maximum size limit of 90cms for barramundi and king threadfin the Daly and Mary River fish management zones has also been introduced. Download the NT Fishing Mate – your ultimate fishing guide The new mobile app NT Fishing Mate, developed to deliver anglers a user friendly, one stop shop provides comprehensive information on the NT’s fishing regulations. The app allows fishers to quickly search fish species, personal and vessel possession limits, boat ramp locations and areas with specific fishing restrictions.  Key features of NT Fishing Mate include:

information on 30+ fish species and their possession limits;notifications of restrictions when approaching special management areas;easy access to maps, images and links;a reporting system for incidents such as fish kills, problem crocodiles, suspicious fishing activity or the recapture of tagged fish; andgeneral information around things such as barotrauma, best practice for handling and releasing fish (due to the effects of barotrauma, reef fish shouldn’t be targeted for catch and release in water deeper than 10m) and boat safety.

Fishing responsibly in Territory waters Whether you’re local or a visitor from interstate, you should always fish responsibly. This includes:

Take/catch no more than your immediate needsUnderstand and observe all fishing regulations and report suspected illegal fishing activities, whether you see them in-person or onlineValue and utilise your catchPrevent pollution and protect wildlife by removing rubbishCare for your own safety and the safety of others when fishing

More information

Download the NT Fishing Mate app before going fishing.  It’s available at  along with a new Handy Reference Booklet and Possession limit flyer for the NT fishing regulations.


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