About recreational fishing

There are rules you need to know before you go recreational fishing in the Northern Territory (NT).

In the NT rules apply to recreational fishing about:

  • the types of fish you may catch
  • how many fish you may catch
  • where you may catch fish
  • the fishing equipment you may use.

Safety while fishing

While you do not need a recreational fishing licence or a recreational boat licence in the NT, you must follow recreational boat laws. You must follow boat rules and carry the right boat safety equipment. Refer to the safety guide for recreational boating for details.

You should also learn about crocodile safety.

Fishing in Aboriginal areas

There are rules you must follow about how to access fishing areas in or near Aboriginal land.

Protected fish species

Protected species must be released unharmed.

You must not keep any of these protected species:

  • all species of cod or groper longer than 1.2m
  • sawfish
  • northern river and speartooth sharks
  • giant clams.

Sea turtles and dugongs

Sea turtles and dugongs are protected species that nest and feed in our waters.

To help preserve their habitat you must not:

  • speed through the nesting and feeding grounds
  • anchor in narrow channels.

Fishing regulations

You must follow the Fisheries Act NT Fishing Regulations. Read the Fisheries Act 1988.

Compliance and policing

Water police patrol boat ramps and waterways including Darwin Harbour and remote rivers.

Police and government boating inspectors can give you a fine if you don't follow marine regulations.

Indigenous marine rangers also assist the police by reporting offenders.

Recreational fishing surveys

Read more about recreational fishing surveys.

Last updated: 21 February 2019

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