Fish n Bag Limits

The Queensland Fisheries Management Authority has imposed legal fish sizes and bag limits to ensure that all of the valuable marine resources are protected and sustained for our future. This means that we are only allowed to catch the required number of each species of fish as the law dictates. The bag limit regulations are there to protect the numbers of fish caught and to give the fish stocks a chance to survive and go on breeding. The quality of fish now being caught is living proof that this type of system does work and work well. You will always have the small number of rogue fishermen that do not care less what they catch or how they catch their fish so long as they get fish. These type's of fisherman are now reducing in numbers as they also see the benefits of the regulations regarding bag limits, and they also realize that we all have to fish for the future. All of the following information below was correct at the time I typed it and should only be used as a guide due to the fact that the information is changing all the time. Please contact your local Queensland fisheries management authority for updated information. 

Size, take and possession limits - tidal waters

Coral reef fin fish bag and size limits*
Species Legal size limit (cm) Take and possession limit
All cods and groupers 38 min Combined limit of 5 in total of all cod species
Cod and grouper exceptions
  Camouflage grouper 50 min 70 max  
  Flowery rockcod 50 min 70 max  
  Greasy rockcod 38 min 100 max  
  Maori cod 45 min  
  Barramundi cod   No take
  Potato rock cod   No take
  Queensland grouper   No take
All coral trout 38 min Combined limit of 7 in total of all trout species
Coral trout exceptions
  Blue spotted coral trout (Chinese footballer) 50 min 80 max  
All emperors 25 min 5 per species
Emperor exceptions
  Redthroat emperor (sweetlip emperor) 38 min 8
  Long nose emperor 38 min 5
  Spangled emperor 45 min 5
All fusiliers No limit No limit
All parrotfishes 25 min 5 per species
All surgeonfishes 25 min 5 per species
All sweetlips
excluding redthroat emperor (sweetlip emperor)
25 min 5 per species
All tropical snappers and sea perches 25 min 5 per species
Tropical snappers and sea perch exceptions
  Rosy snapper (jobfish) and lavender snapper (jobfish) 38 min Combined limit of 8 in total of both species
  Chinaman fish   No take
  Crimson seaperch (small mouth nannygai) and saddletail snapper (large mouth nannygai) 40 min Combined limit of 9 in total of both species
  Flame snapper 38 min 5
  Goldband snapper 38 min 5
  Hussar 25 min 10
  Green jobfish 38 min 5
  Paddletail   No take
  Red bass   No take
  Red emperor 55 min 5
  Ruby snapper 38 min 5
  Smalltooth jobfish 38 min 5
  Miscellaneous jobfish 38 min 5 per species
All wrasse 25 min 5 per species
Wrasse exceptions
  Humphead Maori   No take
  Tuskfish (all species) 30 min Combined limit of 6 in total for all tuskfish species

*Coral reef fin fish closures apply. See Closed seasons - tidal waters for details. In addition to individual bag limits for each coral reef fin fish species listed, they all have a combined bag limit of 20. Please refer to the Recreational fishing rules for Queensland - A brief guide - August 2011 (PDF, 681 kB) for more information. For a complete list of coral reef species download the Fisheries Regulation 2008.

Other tidal species bag and size limits*
Species Legal size (cm) Take and possession limit
Amberjack 50 min Combined limit of 2 in total of amberjack and samsonfish
Australian bass* 30 min 2
  East coast 58 min 120 max 5
  Gulf of Carpentaria** 60 min 120 max 5
Bęche de mer (sea cucumber) No limit 5
Bęche de mer exception    
Black teatfish   No take
Bream (pikey, yellow fin and tarwhine) 25 min Combined limit of 30 in total of pikey and yellowfin bream and tarwhine
Blacklip pearl oyster 9 min No limit
Cobia (black kingfish) 75 min 2
Cod and grouper
  Blackspotted rockcod (estuary cod) 38 min 120 max Combined limit of 5 in total of all cod and grouper species
  Goldspotted rockcod (estuary cod) 38 min 120 max
  Blue swimmer 11.5 min No limit
  Mud 15 min 10
  Spanner* 10 min 20
  Three-spot 10 min No limit
  Longfin 30 min Combined limit of 10 in total of all species
  Pacific shortfin (south Pacific) 30 min
  Southern shortfin 30 min
  All flathead (except dusky flathead) 30 min Combined limit of 5 in total of all species (except dusky flathead)
  Dusky flathead (mud flathead) 40 min 75 max 5
Garfish No limit 50
Giant queenfish
  East coast 50 min 5
  Gulf of Carpentaria** 50 min No limit
Golden snapper (fingermark)
  East coast 35 min 5
  Gulf of Carpentaria** 35 min 10
Goldlip pearl oyster 13 min 23 max No limit
Grass emperor (sweetlip) 30 min 10
  Barred (spotted grunter) East Coast 40 min 10
  Barred (spotted grunter) Gulf of Carpentaria** 40 min 10 whole fish or 20 fillets
  Silver (small spotted grunter) 30 min 10
  Black (East Coast) 75 min 2
  Black (Gulf of Carpentaria**) 60 min 120 max 5 with no more than 2 over 100 cm
  Scaly jewfish (jewel fish) 45 min No limit
Luderick 30 min 10
  Grey 60 min 5
  Spanish 75 min 3
  School 50 min 10
  Shark 50 min 10
  Spotted 60 min 5
Mahi mahi (dolphin fish) 50 min 5
Mangrove jack 35 min 5
  Diamondscale 30 min 20
  Sea 30 min 20
Bivalve molluscs and gastropods (including pipis, mud whelks and cockles), excluding oysters No limit 50
Mulloway 75 min 2
Perch pearl 35 min 5
Prawns No limit 10 litres^
Samsonfish 50 min Combined limit of 2 in total of amberjack and samsonfish
Sharks and rays 1.5 m max 1
Sharks and rays exceptions
  Great white sharks   No take
  Grey nurse shark   No take
  Sawfish   No take
  Speartooth sharks   No take
Snapper* 35 min 4 with no more than 1 over 70 cm 
Swallowtail dart 30 min 30
Tailor 35 min 20
Tarwhine 25 min Combined limit of 30 in total of pikey and yellowfin bream and tarwhine
Teraglin 38 min 5
Threadfin (salmon)
  King 60 min 5
  Blue (East Coast) 40 min 10
  Blue (Gulf of Carpentaria) 40 min 20
Trevally No limit 20
Trochus 8 min 12.5 max 50
Tropical rocklobster #* No limit Above 14° south latitude: combined limit of
3 per person/6 per boat in total of all species.
Below 14° south latitude: combined limit of
5 per person/10 per boat in total of all species.
Tropical rocklobster exceptions #*
Painted crayfish (Panulirus ornatus)
11.5 tail min 9 carapace As above
Wahoo 75 min 2
  Summer/sand, goldline and northern whiting 23 min Combined limit of 30 in total of these whiting species
  Trumpeter (winter whiting) No limit 50
Wolf herring No limit 10
Worms (including part thereof)
  Beach No limit 30
  Blood (all worms of the family Eunicidae) No limit 50
Yellowtail kingfish 60 min 2

^ A person must not possess prawns with the heads or any other part removed, unless the removal was to process the prawns for immediate consumption.

#* Recreational fishers must not possess live tropical rocklobsters.

*A closed season applies to these species. Please refer to Recreational fishing rules for Queensland - A brief guide - August 2011 (PDF, 681 kB) for more information.

** Fishers should note that a regulatory impact statement was recently released in which it was proposed that the size and/or bag limit for this species be changed. Fishers should consult the Fisheries Regulation 2008 for updates.

No-take species

  • Barramundi cod
  • Chinaman fish
  • Humpheaded Maori wrasse
  • Paddletail
  • Potato rockcod
  • Queensland grouper
  • Red bass

Other no-take species include:

  • Female mud and blue swimmer crabs
  • Egg-bearing spanner crabs, three-spot crabs, slipper lobsters and tropical rocklobsters (tropical spiny rock lobsters)
  • Tar-spot tropical rocklobsters (tar-spot tropical spiny rock lobsters). Tar-spots are sperm packets
  • All sawfish
  • Great white sharks, grey nurse sharks and speartooth sharks
  • Clams in the family Tridacnidae, helmet shells and trumpet shells
  • Black teatfish

Note: Whales, porpoises, dugongs, turtles and dolphins are all protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Why do we have size limits?

In Queensland, there are limits on the size of fish that can be legally taken for many species. There are minimum size limits and also some maximum size limits.

Size limits are typically based on biological research into each species' reproductive cycles. Minimum size limits generally allow fish to spawn at least once and contribute to the population before they are taken.

However, in some species larger individuals contribute more to the population, which is why maximum size limits apply. For example, most barramundi begin their lives as males and later, as they grow larger, become females. A maximum size limit is applied to protect large females and to allow them to spawn.

Why do we have bag limits?

A bag limit is the number of fish that one person can legally take and keep. These limits serve several purposes. They:

  • conserve heavily-exploited species
  • conserve species that are susceptible to capture
  • share the catch more equitably among anglers
  • reduce the illegal marketing of fish
  • send out a message promoting ethical and responsible behaviour when using a limited natural resource


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