Recreational Fishing

Australian’s enjoy a wide range of recreational fisheries as part of anything from the annual summer holiday to the more regular game fishers and even recreational tournament fishers. Geographically this spans from northern Australia for species such as Barramundi, Tropical Snappers, Coral Trout, Giant Trevally, Marlin and Tuna, to southern waters for Snapper, King George Whiting, Bream, Flathead and Southern Bluefin Tuna, and inland waters for trout and native fish such as Murray Cod.

The last national survey of recreational fishers was undertaken in 2000. At that time:

  • about 80 per cent of the recreational catch is from salt water – in estuaries, off beaches and from the ocean.
  • The remaining 20 per cent is fished from fresh water – from rivers, lakes, dams and ponds.
  • Recreational fishing is a huge activity in Australia with about 3.5 million people fishing each year.
  • It is also big business with anglers spending about $650 million just on tackle.
  • This doesn’t include the $2.5 billion spend on boats 4×4 vehicles, accommodation, travel, charters, and all the other accessories.

For most people, the major reason for recreational fishing is to relax and unwind, but it is thought that people fish for a range of other reasons including some for the provision of food. Apart from being a source of food, fisheries resources are valued by the community in other ways. People derive reassurance knowing that the environment and the diversity of species are being maintained and that fisheries resources exist. The aquatic environment is also used by people, particularly tourists, who do not capture the resource, but simple observe and enjoy it.

Currently FRDC and the Commonwealth Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment are funding a project to conduct an up to date survey of participation and expenditure in Australian recreational fisheries (

Important education resources are available for recreational fishers via The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation- Education Portal.



RecFish Australia is the peak representative organisation for recreational fishers as recognised under the FRDC’s legislation. However, the FRDC also liaises closely and in the same manner with the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) which is widely recognised as the peak national body for recreational fishing.

The FRDC also requires recreational fishing expertise or experience to be included in the members of the Research Advisory Committees and these committees must have consideration for the benefits to recreational fishing in the projects they call for and evaluate.