Intertidal zone fishing restrictions

The intertidal zone is defined as the area starting at the maximum high-water mark to a point where the water is 2m deep at any time (see diagrams below).

All animals and plants that live in the intertidal zone are critical parts of the food chain.

Removal of invertebrates (animals without backbones such as crabs, snails, shellfish and sea urchins) from this zone may seem harmless, but it represents a loss of food for other species.

For this reason Victoria’s intertidal zones are protected areas.Intertidal zone at low tide

Intertidal zone at low tide

Intertidal zone at high tide

Intertidal zone at high tide

Intertidal protected areas

Victorian Waters (excluding Port Phillip Bay)

From the intertidal zone in other Victorian waters you may only collect bivalve shellfish (animals with 2 hinged shells such as pipis, scallops, mussels, oysters and squirters), squid, octopus and cuttlefish.

Other invertebrates such as crabs, lobster, marine worms and burrowing shrimp can also be collected.

All other molluscs (marine snails such as abalone, limpets, periwinkles and turbo shells) are protected and must not be collected.

Catch limits apply.

Port Phillip Bay

From the intertidal zone in Port Phillip Bay you may only collect marine worms, burrowing shrimp, squid, octopus and cuttlefish.

Only certain equipment is permitted to be used in the intertidal zone to collect these animals (see intertidal collection methods below). Catch limits apply to these species.

All other invertebrates (animals without backbones) are protected in the intertidal zone and must not be collected.

Intertidal restrictions for different Victorian waters

Port Phillip Bay intertidal zone
You can collectYou can't collect
Marine wormsAbalone
Burrowing shrimpCrabs
SquidPipis
OctopusMussels
CuttlefishScallops
 Urchins
 Shells
 Snails
Intertidal zone other than Port Phillip Bay
You can collectYou can't collect
Bivalve shellfish such as popis, scallops, mussels and oystersAbalone
CrabsLimpets
LobsterPeriwinkles
Marine wormsTurbo shells
Burrowing shrimp 
Urchins 
Octopus 
Squid 
Cuttlefish 

Intertidal zone equipment restrictions

Only certain equipment is permitted to be used in the intertidal zones across Victoria to collect these permitted animals. Catch limits apply to these species (pages 23–34).

Intertidal protected area equipment restrictions

The use of any type of hand-held digging implement to collect marine invertebrates is prohibited in intertidal protected areas. For example, hand-held digging implements cannot be used to collect pipis, worms, cockles and bass yabbies in the intertidal zones.

Where collection in the intertidal zone is permitted, only the following methods are allowed: