National Code of Practice

Many Australians love fishing. More than 3.5 million Australians fish annually for recreation and sport. This means about one in every five Australians enjoy fishing and half of all Australian households own fishing tackle. However, with the enjoyment of a natural resource comes responsibility for its sustainability and well being. This National Code of Practice for Recreational and Sport Fishing is intended for all those who fish recreationally, representatives of recreational fishing organisations, the recreational fishing industry, the fishing media and fisheries communicators. It is an initiative of Recfish Australia and supported by the Australian Government.

Recfish Australia was formed in 1983 to represent the interests of recreational and sport fishing at a national level. Recognition of the need for more sustainable fishing practices and an agreed national standard for recreational fishing led to the development of the first national code of practice (COP) in 1995. The COP underwent a minor review in 2001, and this document represents the first major review and revision of the Code since then.


The Code in Summary

The National Code of Practice for Recreational and Sport Fishing addresses four main areas of fishing responsibility:

• Treating fish humanely

• Looking after our fisheries

• Protecting the environment

• Respecting the rights of others

The four overriding objectives form a framework incorporating fourteen more specific principles. These principles are:

• Quickly and correctly returning unwanted or illegal catch to the water

• Quickly and humanely killing fish that are kept for consumption.

• Using only appropriate, legal tackle, attending all fishing gear and valuing our catch

• Taking no more than our immediate needs

• Supporting and encouraging activities that preserve, restore and enhance fisheries and fish habitat

• Understanding and observing all fishing regulations and reporting illegal fishing activities

• Preventing pollution and protecting wildlife by removing rubbish

• Taking care when boating and anchoring to avoid damage to wildlife and habitat

• Using established roads and tracks

• Reporting environmental damage

• Avoiding unnecessary interactions with wildlife species and their habitats

• Practising courtesy towards all those who use inland and coastal waters

• Obtaining permission from landholders and traditional owners before entering land

• Caring for our own safety and the safety of others when fishing


Download the Recfish Australia National Code of Practice

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