Fishing Tours

Fishing is an extremely popular activity on the Great Barrier Reef and it is included in many tourism operations in the Marine Park.

What permits do I need?

To include fishing in your tourism program, you will need a Marine Parks permit. Most Marine Parks permits allow fishing as a standard activity but if your permit does not then you can apply for it to be added.

You will also need additional Queensland Government permits from Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries to offer fishing to your clients.

If you wish to access islands and island National Parks while on your charters you may require additional permits from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

What zoning and fishing limits apply to fishing?

The Marine Park zoning enables fishing in a range of areas of the Great Barrier Reef. For each coloured zone there are specific requirements including the type of fishing allowed and the equipment you may use.

You need to check the zoning for each area you visit.

  • The General Use (light blue) Zone allows line fishing providing each person only has 3 lines/rods with a combined total of 6 hooks.
  • The Habitat Protection (dark blue) Zone allows line fishing providing each person only has 3 lines/rods with a combined total of 6 hooks.
  • The Conservation Park (yellow) Zone allows line fishing providing each person only has 1 line/rod and 1 hook per line.
  • The Marine National Park (green) Zone does not allow any fishing.

You must also comply with catch and size limits (see Related Links).

More access in the Cairns Area for game fishing

The seasonal nature of game fishing in the Cairns Area has been recognised and additional access provided for this activity.

If your operation is permitted to access the Cairns Planning Area (see Download Map), any booking or time limit requirements for the Area as a whole will not apply during game fishing season (September to December) as long as you are there primarily for the purpose of game fishing. Access requirements to Sensitive Locations still apply. Check your Marine Parks permit for details.

What other requirements are there?

There may also be some specific management arrangements in the areas where you go and you may have some specific conditions about fishing in your Marine Parks permit.

If you operate in the Whitsunday Planning Area (see Download Map), you will not be permitted to fish in the Conservation Park (yellow) Zone, unless your permit is specifically endorsed to allow it. Check your permit for details.

How can I make my fishing sustainable?

Whenever you are fishing in the Marine Park, you can help by following the responsible reef practices for fishing and sharing these practices with your clients.

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    Zoning maps

    If you're heading out on the water, download and use the free zoning app so you know where you can go and what you can do.

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