Size, take and possession limits for tidal waters

Size, take and possession limits

Coral reef fin fish size and possession limits*
Species Legal size limit (cm) Take and possession limit
Cod and groupers: all species
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 groper - No take
Coral trout: all species
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 -
Emperors: all species
All emperors 25 min 5 per species
Emperor exceptions (see also grass emperor in 'Other tidal species')
Redthroat emperor (sweetlip emperor) 38 min 8
Long nose emperor 38 min 5
Spangled emperor 45 min 5
Fusiliers: all species
All fusiliers No limit No limit
Parrotfishes: all species
All parrotfishes 25 min 5 per species
Surgeonfishes: all species
All surgeonfishes 25 min 5 per species
Sweetlips: all species
All sweetlips 25 min 5 per species
Tropical snappers and sea perches: all 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
Wrasse: all species
All wrasse 25 min 5 per species
Wrasse exceptions
Humphead Maori - No take
All tuskfish 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 possession limits for each coral reef fin fish species listed, they all have a combined possession limit of 20. Please refer to the Recreational fishing rules for Queensland - a brief guide - February 2012 (PDF, 759.7KB) for more information. For a complete list of coral reef species download the Fisheries Regulation Act 2008.

Other tidal species size and possession limits*
Species Legal size (cm) Take and possession limit
Amberjack
Amberjack 50 min Combined limit of 2 in total of amberjack and samsonfish
Australian bass
Australian bass * 30 min 2
Barramundi
Barramundi
East coast 58 min, 120 max 5
Gulf of Carpentaria 58 min, 120 max 5
Bêche de mer (sea cucumber): all species
Bêche de mer (sea cucumber) No limit 5
Bêche de mer exceptions
Black teatfish - No take
Blacklip pearl oyster
Blacklip pearl oyster 9 min No limit
Bream: all species
All Bream
Pikey, yellow fin and tarwhine 25 min Combined limit of 30 in total of pikey and yellowfin bream and tarwhine
Bugs
Smooth (Balmain)10.5 minNo limit
Moreton Bay bug (bay lobster) 7.5 min (across widest part of carapace)No limit
Cobia (black kingfish)
Cobia (black kingfish) 75 min 2
Cod and grouper: all species
All cod and grouper 38 min, 120 max Combined limit of 5 in total of all cod and grouper species
Crab: all species
Blue swimmer 11.5 min No limit
Mud 15 min 10
Spanner * 10 min 20
Three-spot 10 min No limit
Eels: all species
Longfin 30 min Combined limit of 10 in total of all species
Pacific shortfin (South Pacific) 30 min Combined limit of 10 in total of all species
Southern shortfin 30 min Combined limit of 10 in total of all species
Flathead: all species
All flathead 30 min Combined limit of 5 in total of all species
Flathead exceptions
Dusky flathead (mud flathead) 40 min, 75 max 5
Garfish: all species
All garfish No limit 50
Giant queenfish
Giant queenfish
East coast 50 min 5
Gulf of Carpentaria 50 min 5
Golden snapper (fingermark)
Golden snapper (fingermark)
East coast 35 min 5
Gulf of Carpentaria 35 min 5
Goldlip pearl oyster
Goldlip pearl oyster 13 min, 23 max No limit
Grass emperor (sweetlip)
Grass emperor (sweetlip) 30 min 10
Javelin: all species
All javelin
Barred (spotted grunter): East Coast 40 min 10
Barred (spotted grunter): Gulf of Carpentaria

40 min (whole or partially processed length) or 26 min (fillet length)

10 whole fish or 20 fillets
Silver (small spotted grunter) 30 min 10
Jewfish: all species
All jewfish
Black: East Coast 75 min 2
Black: Gulf of Carpentaria 60 min 2
Scaly jewfish (jewel fish) 45 min No limit
Luderick
Luderick 30 min 10
Mackerel: all species
All mackerel
Grey 60 min 5
Spanish 75 min 3
School 50 min 10
Shark 50 min 10
Spotted 60 min 5
Mahi mahi (dolphin fish)
Mahi mahi (dolphin fish) 50 min 5
Mangrove jack
Mangrove jack 35 min 5
Mullet: all species
All mullet
Diamondscale 30 min 20
Sea 30 min 20
Bivalve molluscs and gastropods: all species including pipis, mud whelks and cockles
All bivalve molluscs and gastropods - excluding oysters No limit 50
Mulloway
Mulloway 75 min 2
Perch pearl
Perch pearl 35 min 5
Prawns: all species
All prawns No limit 10 litres^
Samsonfish
Samsonfish 50 min Combined limit of 2 in total of amberjack and samsonfish
Sharks and rays: all species
All 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
Manta ray  No take
Snapper
Snapper 35 min 4 with no more than 1 over 70 cm
Swallowtail dart
Swallowtail dart 30 min 30
Tailor
Tailor 35 min 20
Tarwhine
Tarwhine 25 min Combined limit of 30 in total of pikey and yellowfin bream and tarwhine
Teraglin
Teraglin 38 min 5
Threadfin (salmon): all species
All threadfin (salmon)
King 60 min 5
Blue: East Coast 40 min 10
Blue: Gulf of Carpentaria 40 min 20
Trevally: all species
All trevally No limit 20
Trochus
Trochus 8 min 12.5 max 50
Tropical rock lobster
Tropical rock lobster #* 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 rock lobster exceptions

Painted crayfish (Panulirus ornatus) #*

11.5 min (tail), 9 min (carapace) 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.
Wahoo
Wahoo 75 min 2
Whiting: all species
All whiting
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
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
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 - February 2012 (PDF, 759.7KB) for more information.

Fishers should note that the size and possession limits are correct at the time of publishing this page. Fishers should consult the Fisheries Regulation 2008 for updates.

No-take species

  • barramundi cod
  • Chinaman fish
  • humpheaded Maori wrasse
  • paddletail
  • potato rockcod
  • Queensland groper
  • red bass.

Other no-take species include:

  • female mud and blue swimmer crabs
  • egg-bearing spanner crabs, three-spot crabs, bugs, 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 and manta rays.
  • 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 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 01 September 2014