Profiles of Australian fisheries

Australian fisheries are spread around the continental landmass of Australia, covering a range of harvesting methods for a range of species. The following profiles contain data from the 2014-15 and 2015-16 financial years.

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Commonwealth fisheries

TABLE 50 Commonwealth fisheries profiles, 2014–15 to 2015–16
FisherySpecies MethodNumber (2014–15)Number (2015–16)
Northern PrawnBanana prawn, tiger prawn, Endeavour prawn and king prawnOtter trawl55 vessels53 vessels
Torres Strait aPrawns, tropical rock lobster, Spanish
mackerel, pearl shell, trochus, finfish, sea cucumber, crab
Otter trawl, troll, handline,
free dive, hookah
407 endorsements
198 endorsements
106 endorsements
104 endorsements
91 endorsements
57 endorsements
85 endorsements
179 endorsements
532 endorsements
281 endorsements
123 endorsements
117 endorsements
143 endorsements
78 endorsements
117 endorsements
245 endorsements
SESSF Commonwealth Trawl SectorMixed fish species, particularly pink ling, blue grenadier, flathead, silver warehouOtter trawl, Danish seine52 vessels51 vessels
SESSF Gillnet , Hook and Trap SectorMixed fish species particularly pink ling, blue-eye trevalla, gummy sharkDemersal gillnet, demersal longline, dropline, trotline,
trap, purse seine
74 vessels65 vessels
SESSF Great Australian Bight Trawl SectorDeepwater flathead, Bight redfishDemersal otter, limited
midwater trawl
6 vessels4 vessels
Southern Bluefin TunaSouthern bluefin tunaPurse seine, pole and line,
longline, trolling
23 vessels(6 farm boats and 25 domestic)
Eastern Tuna and BillfishYellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, skipjack tuna, albacore, billfishPelagic longline, purse seine, pole, trolling, rod and reel,
40 vessels44 vessels
Western Tuna and BillfishYellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, skipjack tuna, albacore, billfishPole and line, purse seine, pelagic longline, troll, rod and
reel, handline
3 vessels3 vessels
2 longliners
1 minorline
Bass Strait ScallopScallopDredge11 vessels11 vessels
Small Pelagic bBlue mackerel, jack mackerel, redbait, Australian sardinePurse seine, midwater trawl3 vessels3 vessels
Southern Squid JigGould’s squidJig11 vessels7 vessels
Sub AntarcticPatagonian toothfish, mackerel icefish Patagonian  toothfishTrawl (demersal and midwater), longline, trial pot
fishing Demersal trawl
7 vessels7 vessels
Western Deepwater TrawlMixed fish speciesOtter trawl11 permits, no fishing11 permits, no fishing
North West Slope TrawlScampiOtter trawl7 permits
1 vessel
7 permits
2 fishing
Coral SeaReef fish including shark, trochus, tropical rock lobster, sea cucumber, aquarium fish, live rockDemersal line, trawl and fish trap, hand collection with and without breathing apparatus, hand-held scoop, seine nets16 permits,
3 vessels
16 permits
3 vessels
South Tasman RiseOrange roughy, smooth oreodory, spikey oreodoryDeepwater demersal trawlclosedclosed

a Numbers of active transferable vessel holder and traditional inhabitant licences in Torres Strait with commercial fishing endorsements.  b Includes four permits held in the Informally Managed Fishery. SESSF Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. SFR statutory fishing right.
Source: Australian Fisheries Management Authority

New South Wales

TABLE 51 NSW fisheries profiles, 2014–15 to 2015–16
FisherySpeciesMethodNumber (2014–15)Number (2015–16)
AbaloneBlacklip abalone (only)Diving50 shareholdings50 shareholdings
Rock LobsterEastern rock lobsterTrapping99 shareholdings98 shareholdings
Ocean TrawlPrawns, flathead and school whitingOtter board trawling205 shareholdings201 shareholdings
Ocean Trap and LineSnapper, leatherjacket, bonito and spanner crabFish and spanner crab traps, handline and dropline345 shareholdings346 shareholdings
Ocean HaulingMullet, Australian sardine and Eastern Australian salmonHauling (seine) nets and purse seine net263 shareholdings263 shareholdings
Southern Fish TrawlFlathead, school whitingOtter board trawling19 entitlements23 shareholdings
Estuary Prawn TrawlSchool prawn, squid andking prawn king prawnOtter board trawling153 shareholdings154 shareholdings
Estuary GeneralMullet, bream, prawn and crabMesh and hauling (seine) nets, crab and fish traps and hand gathering588 shareholdings588 shareholdings
InlandYabby and European carp (only)Yabby traps and gillnets28 entitlements28 shareholdings
Sea Urchin and Turban ShellSea urchin and periwinkleDiving37 entitlements37 shareholdings
Aquaculture aPrawnsPond culture10 licence holders10 licence holders
YabbyPonds and farm dams70 licence holders67 licence holders
OysterRack tray and stick293 licence holders297 licence holders
Silver perchPond77 licence holders76 licence holders
TroutPonds and raceway23 licence holders23 licence holders
Snapperna9 licence holders9 licence holders
BarramundiPond culture9 licence holders10 licence holders

a Aquaculture licence holders may culture more than one species per licence. na Not applicable.
Note: All New South Wales shares/entitlements are held in fishing businesses that may have shares and/or entitlements in one or more fisheries.  The Abalone, Rock Lobster, Ocean Trawl (Prawn and Northern Fish Trawl), Ocean Trap and Line, Ocean Hauling, Estuary General and Estuary Prawn Trawl Fisheries are share management fisheries. The Sea Urchin and Turban Shell, Southern Fish Trawl and Inland Fisheries are restricted fisheries.
Source: New South Wales Department of Primary Industries


TABLE 52 Victorian fisheries profiles, 2014–15 to 2015–16
FisherySpeciesMethodNumber (2014–15)Number (2015–16)
AbaloneGreenlip abalone, blacklip abaloneDiving71 licences71 licences
ScallopsScallopDredge90 licences90 licences
Bay and InletMixed speciesVarious89 licences57 licences
Rock LobsterSouthern rock lobsterPots116 licences
and 7,235 pots
107 licences
and 7,235 pots
Giant CrabGiant crabPots18 licences16 licences
Inshore TrawlMixed speciesVarious54 licences54 licences
Wrasse (Ocean)WrasseHandlines22 licences22 licences
Bait (General)Mixed speciesVarious12 licences12 licences
Ocean (General)Mixed speciesVarious195 licences183 licences
Aquaculture aAbaloneFlow-through systems11 licences10 licences
Freshwater eel, longfin eelRecirculation units and
cultured waters
10 licences12 licences
MusselsLonglines18 licences16 licences
Ornamental fishRecirculation units and
8 licences8 licences
YabbyRecirculation units, ponds and farm dams16 licences17 licences
SalmonidsRecirculation units and
23 licences18 licences
Warm-water finfishRecirculation units, flow-through system
and ponds
22 licences16 licences
Otherna4 licences18 licences

a Aquaculture licence holders may culture more than one species on their licence. na Not applicable. Source: Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries


TABLE 53 Queensland fisheries profiles, 2014–15 to 2015–16
FisherySpeciesMethodNumber (2014–15)Number (2015–16)
East Coast TrawlTiger prawn, banana prawn, king prawn, Endeavour prawn, bay prawn, saucer scallop, buOtter trawl383 licence holders374 licence holders
River and Estuary TrawlBanana prawn, bay prawn, tiger prawnBeam trawl92 licence holders87 licence holders
Gulf of Carpentaria InshoreBarramundi, king threadfin, blue threadfin, shark, grey mackerelNet89 licence holders88 licence holders
East Coast Net (mainly Tropical)Barramundi, king threadfin, blue threadfin, shark, grey mackerelNet120 licence holders105 licence holders
East Coast Net (mainly Subtropical)Mullet, tailor, whiting, bream, grey mackerel, sharkNet99 licence holders94 licence holders
East Coast SharkVarious shark speciesNet134 licence holders120 licence holders
East Coast Handline (mainly Tropical)Coral trout, redthroat emperor, various other reef speciesHandline195 licence holders192 licence holders
East Coast Handline (mainly Subtropical)Snapper, pearl perch, other rocky reef speciesHandline232 licence holders231 licence holders
Line RQ (Handline) aCoral trout, redthroat emperor, various other reef specieHandline356 licence holders349 licence holders
Line SM (Trolling) bSpanish mackerelTrolling250 licence holders244 licence holders
Estuary CrabMud crab, blue swimmer crabPot420 licence holders417 licence holders
Oceanic CrabSpanner crabPot221 licence holders232 licence holders
AquaculturePrawnsPond culture58 development approvals (22 producing)58 development approvals (19 producing)
BarramundiPond and cage culture (incl. tank culture)220 development approvals (23 producing)219 development approvals (21 producing)
OysterRack and stick culture198 development approvals (29 producing)84 development approvals (26 producing)
RedclawPond culture158 development approvals (26 producing)156 development approvals (25 producing)
Freshwater fishPond and tank culture215 development approvals (12 producing214 development approvals (16 producing)
EelPond and tank culture52 development approvals (2 producing)53 development approvals (0 producing)

a Coral Reef Fin Fish Fishery; the RQ symbol can be used only in the area defined for the East Coast Line Fishery symbol(s) appearing on the same licence. b Spanish Mackerel Fishery; the SM symbol can be used only in the area defined for the East Coast Line Fishery symbol(s) appearing on   the same licence.
Source: Fisheries Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

South Australia

TABLE 54 South Australian fisheries profiles, 2014–15 to 2015–16
FisherySpeciesMethodNumber (2014–15)Number (2015–16)
Blue CrabBlue swimmer crabPots9 licence holders9 licence holders
Central Zone AbaloneGreenlip abalone, blacklip abaloneDiving6 licence holders6 licence holders
Gulf St Vincent PrawnKing prawnTrawl10 licence holders10 licence holders
Lakes and CoorongFreshwater finfish, marine finfish, molluscsNetting, line fishing,
36 licence holders36 licence holders
Marine ScalefishVarious finfish, crustaceans, molluscsNetting, line fishing, handlines and traps309 licence holders308 licence holders
MiscellaneousVarious finfish, crustaceans, molluscs, wormsTraps, diving, etc.15 licence holders14 licence holders
Northern Zone Rock LobsterSouthern rock lobsterPots63 licence holders63 licence holders
Restricted Marine ScalefishVarious finfish, crustaceans, molluscsNetting, line fishing, handlines, traps7 licence holders4 licence holders
River FisheryFreshwater finfish, crustaceansNetting, pots6 licence holders6 licence holders
Southern Zone Rock LobsterSouthern rock lobsterPots180 licence holders180 licence holders
Southern Zone AbaloneGreenlip abalone, blacklip abaloneDiving6 licence holders6 licence holders
Spencer Gulf PrawnKing prawnTrawl39 licence holders39 licence holders
West Coast PrawnKing prawnTrawl3 licence holders3 licence holders
Western Zone AbaloneGreenlip abalone, blacklip abaloneDiving22 licence holders22 licence holders
AquacultureLand-based Category A: native species to local area, e.g. yabbyPonds, dams59 licences37 licences
Land-based Category B: exotic species to locality, e.g. marron, barramundiPonds, dams and recirculation systems38 licences42 licences
Land-based Category C: high risk, e.g. abalonePonds, recirculation
14 licences13 licences
Marine: abaloneSea cages, contained longlines, uncontained benthic structures15 licences9 licences
Marine:  intertidal molluscs, e.g. oysterContained racks and contained longlines334 licences9 licence holders
Marine: subtidal molluscs, e.g. blue musselLonglines38 licences6 licence holders
Marine: tunaSea cages20 licences10 licence holders
Marine: finfishSea cages25 licences36 licence holders

Sources: Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia; South Australian Research and Development Institute

Western Australia

TABLE 55 Western Australian fisheries profiles, 2014–15 to 2015–16
FisherySpeciesMethodNumber (2014–15)Number (2015–16)
West Coast Rock Lobster aWestern rock lobsterPots252 boats236 boats
Abalone bGreenlip abalone, brownlip abalone, Roe’s abaloneDiving42 licences41 active licences
Shark Bay PrawnKing prawn, tiger prawn, Endeavour prawn, saucer scallopTrawl18 licences18 licences
Exmouth Gulf PrawnKing prawn, tiger prawn, Endeavour prawnTrawl15 licences15 licences
Nickol Bay PrawnKing prawn, banana prawnTrawl14 licences14 licences
YabbyPonds and farm
MarronPonds and farm damsnana
Blue musselLonglinesnana

a Number of boats was presented because of changes in licencing and operation of the fishery. b Number of active licences were given instead of active boats given in previous years because of a change in data collection processes. na Not applicable.
Source: WA Department of Fisheries


TABLE 56 Tasmanian fisheries profiles, 2014–15 to 2015–16
FisherySpeciesMethodNumber (2014–15)Number (2015–16)
AbaloneBlacklip abalone, greenlip abaloneDiving121 licence holders120 licence holders
Rock LobsterSouthern rock lobsterPots311 licence holders311 licence holders
Giant CrabGiant crabPots84 licence holders84 licence holders
ScallopCommercial scallop, doughboy scallop, queen scallopScallop harvester70 licence holders59 licence holders
ScalefishVariousNetting/hooks285 licence holders281 licence holders
AquacultureAtlantic salmonSea cages45 licence holders45 licence holders
Pacific oysterRacking/line system100 licence holders101 licence holders
Blue musselLonglines8 licence holders6 licence holders
Rainbow troutSea cages9 licence holdersna
Otherna5 licence holders14 licence holders
AbaloneLand-based tanks5 licence holders6 licence holders

na Not applicable.
Source: Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Northern Territory

TABLE 57 Northern Territory fisheries profiles, 2014–15 to 2015–16
FisherySpeciesMethodNumber (2014–15)Number (2015–16)
CoastalFinfish and baitLine, net and trap61 licence holders70 licence holders
Offshore aMackerel, shark, reef fishTrolling, hand and longline net, trap and trawling67 licence holders58 licence holders
BarramundiBarramundi and threadfinGillnet17 licence holders14 licence holders
Mud crabMud crabCrab pots49 licence holders49 licence holders
OtherMolluscs, oyster, sea cucumber, squid and aquarium fishHand harvest, jigging and a variety of other methods20 licence holders24 licence holders
Aquaculture bPrawnsna0 endorsements0 endorsements
Barramundina1 endorsements1 endorsements
Othersna3 endorsements3 endorsements
Pearlsna3 licence holders4 licence holders

a As a result of administrative changes in the Timor Reef Fishery and Demersal Fishery, both are now managed by individual transferrable quota  and no restrictions apply to the number of licences that can be issued or held. b Aquaculture licence holders may culture more than one species on their licences. The number of licences is included once for each type; if a licence is approved for barramundi, prawns and other species, it will be listed once in each category. na Not applicable.
Source: Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries

Last reviewed:
24 Apr 2018