An information bulletin for recreational fishers


August 2018    Release of the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy 2018-2028

The NSW Government has committed $45.7 million to deliver Stage 1 of the Marine Estate Management Strategy, which outlines nine initiatives to address the priority threats to the state’s oceans, coastline, estuaries and coastal lakes known as our marine estate.

For the first two years implementation will focus on addressing the priority threats: pollution, habitat loss and unsustainable land use. Actions will also be progressed on
planning for climate change, protecting Aboriginal cultural values of the marine estate, reducing impacts on marine life, sustainable fishing and recreational boating, enhancing social, cultural and economic benefits and delivering effective governance. For recreational fishers, the Strategy aims to deliver healthier waterways and habitats and sustainable coastal development that considers public access for a range of uses, including fishing.

Initiative 6 Ensuring sustainable fishing and aquaculture also recognises the many benefits of recreational fishing and will provide for ongoing sustainable use, seek to enhance fishing experiences through a variety of projects and to fill important knowledge gaps. An environmental assessment of recreational fishing will also commence in 2018.

Successful implementation of the Strategy will involve support from the recreational fishing community, industry and State and local Government. The final Strategy is available at


New rules to help Mulloway recovery 


Mulloway is a highly regarded sport fish and an important commercial species, so the NSW Government is working with fishers to ensure the future of one of NSW’s most prized fish species.
In 2013, a recovery plan was introduced to halt the decline of Mulloway stock and help the recovery of the species. Despite efforts by fishers, a recent scientific review showed Mulloway are still over fished and more action is needed in order for stocks to recover.
Both the commercial and recreational fishing advisory councils have provided advice on this important issue, including:

  • The removal of the possession limit of 10 Mulloway between 45 and 70 cm that currently applies to Estuary General meshing net fishers - this means a 70 cm Mulloway minimum size limit will apply to all fishers.
  • A reduction in the recreational bag limit from two to one.

The reduction in the recreational bag limit still provides opportunities for fishers to catch these fish and if they wish, keep one for the table. It will also ensure consumers can access wild caught Mulloway now and into the future.
The changes come into effect on 1 September 2018. An advisory campaign will ensure all fishers are aware of the new rules.


Marine park proposal for the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bio region (Greater Sydney region)

The NSW Government is proposing a new marine park in the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bio region, composed of 25 separate sites in the marine estate between Newcastle and Shell Harbour. This proposal is designed to complement the Marine Estate Management Strategy 2018-2028 (the Strategy).

The aim of this proposal is to enhance the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bio region while achieving balanced community outcomes, including opportunities for a range of recreational and commercial uses.

A detailed two-part discussion paper has been released and your comments are sought on the 25 sites comprising the proposed marine park, the draft management objectives and rules proposed at each site, and the benefits and costs to your activities, community or industry.

A series of community drop-in information sessions will be held during the consultation period in public areas near the sites proposed, with a schedule available here. Have your say on the marine park proposal by making a submission online at by 27 September 2018.

The information you provide will help inform the final marine park proposal to be considered by the NSW Government later in 2018. Existing management rules remain in place, and none of the proposals will be implemented until the NSW Government announces the outcome.

Please visit for more information.


Fishers for Fish Habitat Forum 2018

The FREE 2018 Fishers for Fish Habitat Forum is on 24-25 August in Ballina.

Recreational fishers from across NSW and interstate will join DPI, natural resource managers, scientists, and like-minded individuals to find out more about fish habitat, what’s being done to protect it, and to learn how recreational fishers are making a difference to support the sport they enjoy.

Guest speaker on Friday night is Anna Clark - a research fellow, mad keen fisher and author of her latest book "The Catch: The Story of Fishing in Australia", which charts the history of fishing, from the first known accounts of Indigenous fishing and early European encounters with Australia's waters to the latest fishing fads.

So why not come along and help us celebrate nearly 10 years of Fishers for Fish Habitat Forums - back where it all began in Ballina, northern NSW. Further details:


Australia’s biggest ever swordfish donated to the NSW Research Angler Program




At a staggering 436 kg, the enormous fish caught by South Coast angler Mitch Ryan is the largest caught from Australian waters and the unofficial second largest broad bill swordfish (Xiphias gladius) recorded worldwide. This is the second swordfish generously donated to the NSW RAP, both caught off Mallacoota. The previous Australian record, donated in 2017, weighed 347 kg and was estimated to be 18 years old. Successful extraction and analysis of this species' tiny otoliths (pictured with 5 cent piece) in the latest catch estimated the age to be 21 years!



Whilst the species has been recorded to reach ages of 23 years in the central North Pacific, this fish is the (equal) oldest broad bill so far recorded from the southwest Pacific (eastern Australia). Image: The otolith section from the 436 kg broad bill swordfish donated to the NSW RAP showing 21 yearly growth rings.


Habitat Action Grants now open




The annual Habitat Action Grants are open again until September 21 for projects that improve fish habitat including riverbank fencing, weeding and replanting native vegetation along waterways, putting back in stream habitat (re snagging, fish hotels), managing erosion or fixing up fish passage barriers.The program is an excellent example of how recreational fishing fees are helping to support a productive fishery in NSW. Keep an eye out on DPI Fisheries website ( and Facebook page.

New fishing platform for Port Stephens



The roll out of fishing infrastructure being built using funds from the Recreational Fishing Trust continues. Check out the new fishing platform extension added to the disabled access ramp at Nelson Bay's Little Beach. The new fishing platform is now open to fishing with further works by Port Stephens Council to replace deck boards planned for late August. For more info on fishing infrastructure projects, go to:


Providing fishing opportunities for our youth 



DPI Staff, Fish care Volunteers and NSW Police recently mentored Tabulam Public School students, through a fabulous day of learning and fishing, generously supported by Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation located in Grafton. The day proved to be a great success with 30 very happy children each given a rod, reel and fishing tackle box along with some key fishing tips to help them get started. This great initiative will surely see many of these kids hooked on this great healthy outdoor activity and has provided the tools necessary to continue fishing into the future.   

Bid to boost Murray Crayfish population




The second stage of a Murray Crayfish conservation stocking program was completed in July to help boost a locally depleted population.
Over 200 Murray Crayfish were moved from an area where they are abundant, to a site downstream in the Murray River which suffered a significant decline in the local population due to a hypoxic black water event during 2010 and 2011.
Murray Crayfish were once widespread throughout the Murray and Murrumbidgee catchments however have declined in range and distribution and are now listed as ‘vulnerable’ in NSW.
This is the second stocking event of Murray Crayfish in NSW, following a successful stocking of 200 crays last year. The project is being run through a collaborative effort with DPI, Aqua save – Nature Glenelg Trust and with contributing funding from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust.
Further information about Murray Crayfish can be found on the Department’s website.

New research on the John Dunphy Offshore Artificial Reef




In October 2017, NSW’s largest artificial reef was installed just south of Port Hacking, off the coast of the Royal National Park. This reef creates more fishing opportunities for NSW anglers, and NSW DPI scientists are monitoring how fish use the structure and contribute to recreational fisheries. This research program is using a “quantitative fisheries sonar” (much like an extremely high-tech fish finder) to calculate the biomass (pictured top) of fish across the artificial reef system, and how this changes through the seasons. Also, an array of underwater listening stations (pictured bottom left) will allow us to monitor residency of fish species such as Silver Trevally, Yellow tail Kingfish and Yellow tail Scad (yakkas), which will be internally tagged with transmitters (pictured bottom right) in the coming year.

If you catch a fish with a tag in it, and it is in good condition, please follow good catch-and-release practice and gently return it to the water. If you keep a fish and recover one of these transmitters, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 02 4982 1232, so we can collect the tag for redeployment.

Have you seen this freshwater fish?   




DPI Fisheries is calling for sightings of the endangered Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon. The species has suffered significant declines in NSW due to habitat loss, competition with introduced species and water quality decline.

You may have seen them in still or slow-moving water bodies such as rivers, creeks and billabongs, among aquatic vegetation, leaf litter, rocks or snags. DPI Fisheries has put together a guide to help identify Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon.
To report a sighting or for more information, visit the DPI website or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Anglers advised to practice catch and release in Lake Toolooma




Anglers are advised to catch and release Australian Bass caught in Lake Toolooma, within Heathcote National Park near Waterfall. NSW DPI Fisheries has conducted a biota sampling program within Lake Toolooma to test for the bio accumulation of Per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in fish. DPI Fisheries has previously stocked the lake with Australian Bass for recreational fishing purposes. 
Analysis of fish sampled in the lake has indicated PFAS are present within Australian Bass. PFAS are a very stable chemical that do not break down very easily and persist for a long time in the environment. As a precaution, the EPA and NSW PFAS Task force have recommended that fishers do not consume Australian Bass caught from the lake.
The presence of PFAS is linked to the historical use of firefighting foam by the NSW Rural Fire Service for training purposes near Waterfall. The water from this area drains into Lake Toolooma. Firefighting foam used today no longer contains PFAS. 
For more information refer to the Factsheet:, visit, or call the 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555. More information on catch and release fishing is available at


Fly Fishing Casts a New Light on Mental Health 

Niall Blair  Minister for Primary Industries  

Tanya Davies Minister for Mental Health  


Monday, 6 February 2018           

A fishing program which aims to give renewed hope to men suffering from mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, will receive a $41,000 boost from the NSW Government.  

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair and Minister for Mental Health, Tanya Davies announced the funding for The Fly Program today, founded by Matt Tripet who tragically lost his brother-in-law to suicide in 2013.  

Mr Blair said the program is already delivering life-changing results. 

“Matt isn’t just casting a line with men in mountain streams, he is ‘casting’ awareness and helping men find their voice to speak up when times get tough,” Mr Blair said.  

“Fly fishing requires patience, a calm and focused mind and a willingness to learn, but through that process you are guaranteed to feel more grounded and more connected with the world around you.” 

Mr Tripet said the program is designed to help men, who may be directly, or indirectly struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and/or suicide.   

“We’re committed to providing men with an environment where they not only explore amazing locations on the mountain bike, or with the fishing rod at hand but also use these experiences as the platform to explore new frontiers within themselves,” Mr Tripet said.       

“We began the program in the Snowy Mountains but I am now working towards launching in several locations right across the State – I want it to be accessible to men everywhere.” 

Mrs Davies said suicide affects men at a rate three times greater than women and men are less likely to access mental health services.  

“This program means men can seek advice or help in a less daunting way. The outdoors creates a relaxed opportunity to share their stories with other men who may be experiencing similar challenges,” Mrs Davies said.   

For more information on The Fly Program visit here. If you or someone you know needs help call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 or for crisis support phone Lifeline 24/7 on 13 11 14 or visit .  

Editor’s note: Vision and grabs available through the link here  


MEDIA: Evie Madden | Minister Blair | 0409 682 163 Elizabeth Williams | Minister Davies | 0439 807 672 


Catch some funding for fish stocking

31 Jan 2018

Applications for the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) 2018-19 Dollar for Dollar Native Fish Stocking Program are now open, with angling and community groups, individuals, councils and other relevant organisations encouraged to apply.

The program, which is now in its 20th season, offers matching funding to purchase fish from registered private hatcheries for restocking into approved public waters in NSW.

DPI Fisheries Manager Jim Harnwell said the program is another great example of NSW fishing licence fees at work, with many hundreds of thousands of fish stocked into various NSW waterways each season.

“The program is highly supported and well received by the community, with up to 100 participating stocking groups participating in each round,” he said.

“Fish stocking is recognised for its importance to the community in terms of providing quality recreational fishing, aboriginal and cultural opportunities, conservation outcomes and subsequent social and economic benefits.”

Matching funds between $1,000 and $6,000 are provided from the Recreational Fishing Trust. Funds are available to stock high priority recreational fishing species including Australian Bass, Golden Perch and Murray Cod, pending their availability.

“In the 2017/18 season, unfortunately some Murray Cod and Golden Perch suppliers were not able to take part in the program,” Mr Harnwell said.

“Stocking groups wishing to participate in the program are encouraged to contact their preferred supplier before applying.”

It is important that all fish stocking is conducted responsibly in order to protect biodiversity and the aquatic environment. Releasing fish into NSW public waters without a permit is illegal.

Applications for the 2018-19 stocking season close on Friday, 4 May 2018. Apply online or refer to for additional information, including hard copy forms.

Suspected illegal fish stocking can be reported to your local DPI Fisheries office, or to the Fishers Watch Phone line on 1800 043 536. Report any suspected aquatic pests to Aquatic Biosecurity on (02) 4916 3877 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media contact: Laura Hutton 0427 652 088




“Good Flows Mean More Fish” – Better understanding of fish and flows in the Murray-Darling Basin

16 Jan 2018


Recreational Fisher Rhys Creed fishing in the Murray River.

New advisory material explaining how native fish respond to flows and what it means for recreational fishers have been developed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in partnership with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

The video and series of info graphics have been developed in close consultation with anglers across the NSW Basin through an Engaged Anglers Advisory Group.

DPI Fisheries identified the need to work more closely with recreational fishers following a state-wide survey conducted in 2016.

DPI’s Senior Fisheries Manager, Dr Katherine Cheshire, said fish play a critical role in the entire river system and are the basis of a billion dollar recreational fishing industry.

“Looking after fish by using water for the environment can support spawning and growth to adults, and provides a range of environmental, social and economic benefits, including better fishing for target species like yellow belly,” Dr Cheshire said.

“It is important to have recreational fishers involved as the custodians of this shared resource.”

Well known Mildura angler and advisory group member Vas Saris said it was the first time that NSW fishers have been invited by government to help create targeted communications advice to inform and educate others on issues such as using water for the environment for native fish, fish ecology and water management.

“We’ve never had this level of engagement before from the government and we have helped them translate complex information such as river regulation, environmental flows and the science behind it in simple terms that makes it easier to understand,” Mr Saris said.

Mr Saris said he is one of many anglers who are committed to sharing information that will bring about a greater understanding of why fish need flows.

“It’s so important to understand what water managers, scientists and the government are doing to help nurture and improve our fisheries through water management and that’s why we think it’s better explained by recreational fishers,’ Mr Saris said.