skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Recreational fishing rules

Changes to the recreational fishing rules in WA to come into effect from 1 February 2023. 

Following extensive community and industry consultation new management change​s will be introduced to boost the recovery of demersal scalefish stocks from Kalbarri to Augusta. 

Changes for recreational fishers 


On 1 February 2023, the following changes will commence:
  • The current two-month demersal closure will be extended to a total of six months for recreational fishers in the West Coast Bioregion from Kalbarri to Augusta.
  • New seasonal dates - Catching demersal scalefish from a boat will be prohibited from:
    • 1 February to 31 March (inclusive);
    • 1 August to the beginning of the September/October school holidays; and
    • end of the September/October school holidays to 15 December (inclusive).
  • *Note this does not apply to land based recreational line fishers, and persons on a fishing charter.
  • A boat limit of four demersal scalefish per vessel 
  • The removal of the WA dhufish boat limit, so an individual angler can catch up to two WA dhufish
  • A maximum of one bait or lure per line when fishing from a boat for demersal scalefish.
  • Removal of size limits for WA dhufish, baldchin groper and breaksea cod to limit baro-trauma.
  • Abrolhos Islands to be managed as a wilderness fishing area with reduced catch limits:  
    • reduced bag limits of one demersal scalefish and one large pelagic finfish;
    • reduced finfish possession limit of:
      • 5 kg of fillets from any species, plus 5 kg of fillets from large pelagic finfish (must have skin attached for identification purposes); OR
      • one day’s bag limit of whole fish.
  • Shifting the timing of the Abrolhos Islands baldchin groper spawning closure to be 1 October to 31 December (inclusive). 
  • Extending the timing of the Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds pink snapper spawning closure to be 1 August to 31 January (inclusive).

Changes for charter fishers 


On 1 February 2023, the following changes will commence for charter fishers:
  • Removal of size limits for WA dhufish, baldchin groper and breaksea cod to limit baro-trauma.
  • The removal of the WA dhufish boat limit, so an individual angler can catch up to two WA dhufish
  • Abrolhos Islands to be managed as a wilderness fishing area with reduced catch limits:  
    • reduced bag limits of one demersal scalefish and one large pelagic finfish;
    • reduced finfish possession limit of:
      • 5 kg of fillets from any species, plus 5 kg of fillets from large pelagic finfish (must have skin attached for identification purposes); OR​
      • one day’s bag limit of whole fish.
  • Shifting the timing of the Abrolhos Islands baldchin groper spawning closure to be 1 October to 31 December (inclusive). 
  • Extending the timing of the Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds pink snapper spawning closure to be 1 August to 31 January (inclusive).

1 July 2023, the following changes will commence for charter fishers:
  • A demersal scalefish catch quota system for the charter fishery. 
  • Charter fishery open 12 months of the year (excluding existing spawning closures).

Changes for commercial fishers

 
On 1 January 2023, the following changes will commence:

  • Available fishing hours in the West Coast Demersal Scalefish (Line) Fishery will be reduced to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in total allowable catch.

On 1 February 2023, the following changes will commence:

  • Voluntary Fisheries Adjustment Scheme to buy back West Coast Demersal Scalefish (Line) Fishery permits and entitlement.
  • Removal of size limits for WA dhufish, baldchin groper and breaksea cod to limit baro-trauma
  • Extending the timing of the Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds pink snapper spawning closure to be 1 August to 31 January (inclusive).
  • Shifting the timing of the Abrolhos Islands baldchin groper spawning closure to be 1 October to 31 December (inclusive).

Find out more on the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource​ homepage. 

____________________________________________

Recreational fishing rules

To help keep our fish resources sustainable, we have developed a comprehensive set of rules for recreational fishers.

By following the rules you will help maintain the fantastic fishing opportunities here in WA, ensuring there are fish for the future for you and the generations to come.

Most of the key Statewide fishing rules can be found online and in our Recreational fishing guide, which includes bag and size limits tables for the main species you are likely to catch throughout WA.

A number of rules also apply to licensed fisheries and some rules apply to specific biological regions, known as 'bioregions' –  click on the relevant section in the map below for more details.

You should also be aware of rules for Marine Protected Areas and for individual species.

The rules form part of our management strategies, which are based on ongoing research monitoring of our fish and aquatic resources.



 
 

Summary of key changes to WA recreational fishing rules which came into effect on 1 July 2021: 

  • Introduction of trip limits. While on a fishing trip you may accumulate up to 10kg of finfish fillets of any species, no skin required, plus an additional 10kg of fillets of large pelagic fish with skin on. The existing possession limit of 20kg of fillets of any species will continue to apply at a person's principal place of residence.
  • Removal of the 30cm minimum fillet length for filleting at sea.
  • Update to the definition of whole fish, which can now be cut in two pieces and still be considered as one fish. (For both filleting and whole fish rules, skin will need to be attached while still at sea.)
  • Release weights will be required for the master of all fishing boats fishing by line for demersal finfish, anywhere in WA, not just in the West Coast Region.

For more information, read our FAQ and media release.​

​​​​​​​​

Last modified: 17/01/2023 1:31 PM

wa.gov.au

© All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved. ABN: 18 951 343 745

Copyright

© This work is copyright. You may display, print or reproduce this material only in an unaltered format for your personal or non-commercial use, or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.

Disclaimer

The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at www.fish.wa.gov.au.