Size, take and possession limits for fresh waters

The following rules for recreational fishing in Queensland have been in place since 1 September 2011.

Size, take and possession limits for fresh waters

The following legal limits apply to fish taken in Queensland waters. A take and possession limit is the total number of fish a person may take or possess at any one time.

Freshwater species size and possession limits*
Species Legal size limit (cm) Take and possession limit
Australian bass*
Australian bass* 30 min 2
Australian lungfish
Australian lungfish - No take
Barramundi*
East Coast 58 min 120 max (one greater than 120 cm from some dams) 5 (one during closed season
for some dams)
Gulf of Carpentaria 58 min 120 max (one greater than 120 cm from some dams) 5 (one during closed season for some dams)
Cherabins
Cherabins No limit Combined limit of 10 in total of both species: Macrobrachium lar and M. rosenbergii
Cod
Bloomfield River cod  No take
Mary River cod - Upstream of the walls of Cressbrook, Hinze, Maroon, Moogerah, North Pine, Somerset and Wivenhoe dams and lakes Dyer (Bill Gunn Dam) and Clarendon 50 min 1
Mary River cod - elsewhere in Queensland - No take
Murray cod# (Queensland part of Murray-Darling Drainage Division) 60 min 110 max 2
Eels
Longfin 30 min Combined limit
Pacific shortfin (south Pacific) 30 min of 10 in total
Southern shortfin 30 min of all eel species
Freshwater catfish
Freshwater catfish (eel-tailed catfish) (Tandanus tandanus) 35 min Combined limit of 5 in total of fish in the genera Neosilurus, Tandanus and Neosiluroides (e.g. black, Cooper Creek, eel-tailed, false spine, shortfinned catfish and Hyrtl's tandan)
Freshwater sawfish
Freshwater sawfish - No take
Garfish
Garfish No limit 50
Mangrove jack
Mangrove jack 35 min 5
Molluscs
Molluscs (excluding oysters) No limit 50
Perch and grunter
Golden perch (yellowbelly) 30 min 10
Jungle perch 35 max Combined limit of 1 in total of jungle perch and spotted flagtail
Spotted flagtail (northern jungle perch) 35 max Combined limit of 1 in total of jungle perch and spotted flagtail
Silver perch 30 min Combined limit of 5 in total for silver perch, Welch's grunter and Barcoo grunter. Silver perch in Paroo and Warrego River basins are catch and release only
Barcoo grunter 30 min Combined limit of 5 in total for silver perch, Welch's grunter and Barcoo grunter
Welch's grunter 30 min Combined limit of 5 in total for silver perch, Welch's grunter and Barcoo grunter
Sooty grunter 28 min Combined limit of 10 in total for sooty grunter and khaki grunter
Khaki grunter (Khaki bream) No limit Combined limit of 10 in total for sooty grunter and khaki grunter
Rainbow fish
Rainbow fish (Melanotaenia sp.) No limit 20 per species
Redclaw (redclaw crayfish in its natural range)
Gulf of Carpentaria Drainage Division and from the Jacky Jacky River basin south to the Normanby River basin on the east coast of Queensland No limit 40 (females carrying eggs or young must be returned to the water within their natural range)
River blackfish
River blackfish - No take
Saratoga
Northern 50 min Combined limit of 1 in total of northern and southern saratoga
Southern 50 min Combined limit of 1 in total of northern and southern saratoga
Sea mullet
Sea mullet 30 min 20
Spiny crayfish
Spiny crayfish - No take
Yabby or blueclaw crayfish
Yabby or blueclaw crayfish (cherax destructor) No limit 100 (females carrying eggs or young must be returned to the water within their natural range)

*A closed season applies to these species.

#Murray cod cannot be taken from the Barwon, Macintyre or Dumaresq rivers from 1 September to 30 November. See Closed waters - freshwater areas for more information on closed waters in Queensland.

The following freshwater species have a take and possession limit of 20
Aggassiz's glassfish (perchlet) Aru gudgeon Australian smelt Banded grunter (barred grunter) Blackmast (strawman)
Blue catfish (lessor salmon catfish) Bony bream Boofhead catfish (triangular shield catfish)   Celebes flathead goby
Coal grunter Concave flathead goby Delicate blueeye Desert goby Elongate glassfish (yellowfin perchlet)
Empire gudgeon Fimbriate gudgeon Firetail gudgeon Flagtail gudgeon (flagtail perchlet) Flathead gudgeon (bigheaded gudgeon)
Flyspecked hardyhead Freshwater longtom Gilbert's grunter Golden flathead goby Golden goby (dwarf goby)
Highfin catfish (Berney's catfish) Lake's carp gudgeon Leathery grunter Lorentz's grunter Macleay's glassfish (reticulated perchlet)
Marjorie's hardyhead Midgley's carp gudgeon Mueller's glassfish Mulgrave goby Northern purplespotted gudgeon (trout gudgeon)
Obbes' catfish   Pacific blue eye Penny fish Poreless gudgeon
Rendahl's catfish Roman nose goby Sailfin glassfish (sailfin perchlet) Scaleless goby Sevenspot archer fish (common archer fish)
Silver catfish (silver tandan) Silver cobbler (shovel nosed catfish) Sleepy cod Small headed grunter Snakehead gudgeon
Southern purplespotted gudgeon Spangled perch Speckled goby Spotted blueeye Square blotch goby
Striped gudgeon Tank goby (flathead goby)   Western carp gudgeon  

No-take species

  • Australian lungfish
  • Bloomfield River cod
  • Freshwater sawfish
  • River blackfish
  • Spiny crayfish
  • Mary River cod - no take except upstream of some dams

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 possession limits?

A possession limit refers to the total number of fish an individual can legally take and have in their possession at any one time - it does not apply on a per day basis. This includes the fish you have caught previously that are in your freezer at home.

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.

Further information

Last updated 04 June 2014