Illegal Take for Sale

Fishers who sell or attempt to sell their catch without a commercial licence is illegal. This unlawful activity impacts the sustainability of our fisheries resource. This is a major concern/problem in Victoria.

Is it illegal to sell my recreationally caught fish?

Yes. Selling fish without a legitimate commercial licence to do so is illegal. As a recreational angler, you must not:

  • take fish (including bait & shellfish) for sale, barter or exchange; or
  • sell fish, expose fish for sale, send, deliver or consign fish for sale

Why is it important for anglers not to sell their catch?

Selling recreationally caught fish undermines the legitimate commercial fishing sector and our shared fisheries resource. It affects fish stocks and threatens the sustainability of our fisheries and the livelihoods of licensed commercial operators.

Illegal seafood networks negatively influence the availability and price of seafood for customers as well as increasing our consumer health risks.

When you are caught, the fisher and buyer could face significant fines, seizure of property associated with the offending and receive potential jail terms.


What species are most commonly involved?

Fish commonly associated (in high demand), in the illegal take for sale include:

  • marine scalefish such as Tuna, Snapper, Whiting and Flathead
  • freshwater scalefish such as Murray Cod and Golden perch
  • molluscs such as Abalone, Pipis and Calamari (squid)
  • crustaceans such as Rock Lobster and Shrimp/Yabbies (for bait)

What happens if you're caught selling fish without a commercial licence?

Individuals found selling their catch could:

  • be prosecuted and fined over $150,000,
  • have equipment, including vehicles and boats confiscated,
  • prohibition notice preventing fishing in the future, and
  • receive up to 10 years jail

Fish on a pier

What happens to the buyer?

Restaurants and seafood businesses found receiving or selling recreationally caught seafood could:

  • be prosecuted and fined over $150,000 as an individual or over $800,000 as a company; and
  • receive up to 10 years jail

Who do I contact if I suspect 'illegal take for sale' activity?

If you:

  • are approached by a recreational angler trying to sell their catch; or
  • suspect a seafood business is sourcing its seafood illegally

Report them to The Victorian Fisheries Authority's 24 hour, 7 day a week reporting service 13 FISH (133474)