Rule reminders

The VFA would like to remind recreational fishers of the following rules.

Please note these are not all the rules which apply to recreational fishing, and are merely a selection.

If you caught it, count it

Fish caught that are retained in live wells, catch-bags, eskies, buckets, any other container or given to someone else count towards your bag limit.

You cannot share your fishing licence

Your recreational fishing licence (RFL) is yours alone and cannot be shared. Each person using fishing equipment must hold their own RFL or valid exemption.

Selling your recreational catch is illegal

You must not take fish, including bait, for sale, barter or exchange or sell fish or expose fish for sale. The maximum penalties for people convicted of illegally selling, trading or buying recreational catch are fines of more than $30,000 and up to 12 months in prison. Maximum penalties for people convicted of illegally selling, trading or buying recreationally caught abalone, rock lobster, Murray cod or bluefin tuna are fines of more than $180,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

'High-grading' your fish is illegal

High-grading of fish involves a person who has caught and retained their daily catch limit of legal sized fish, but who then continues to catch more of that species, subsequently discarding the previously caught fish, dead or alive.

Set lines are illegal

When you are using a rod and line or handline you must at all times while the line is the water be in a position where that rod and line or handline is in sight and be within 50m of that rod and line or handline.

Tethering live fish is illegal

You must not place or retain a live fish on a tether in, on or next to Victorian waters. You may retain fish you wish to keep in keeper nets.

Remember every fish you place in a keeper nets counts towards you bag limit.

Defacing or interfering with fisheries signs is illegal

You must not remove interfere with damage or deface a fisheries sign, fishing boundary posts or shark hazard signs.

It is an offence to tamper with or interfere with commercial fishing equipment

All commercial gear must be labelled with the licence number of the commercial fisher to whom it belongs. If you think equipment is being used illegally call 13FISH (13 3474) and report it.

It is an offence for recreational fishers to use or be in possession of commercial fishing equipment

Please check what equipment you must never use and which equipment you can use in some places and at some times. Click here to learn about marine equipment, and click here to learn about inland/freshwater equipment.

It is an offence to use firearms, explosives and bow and arrows to take, attempt to take, injure or destroy fish (including sharks)

Sharks can be dangerous, so if you are not targeting sharks and see one in the vicinity STOP fishing immediately and move away from the animal. If you catch a shark accidently then cut the line well away from its mouth.

Click here for useful tips for dealing with sharks.

Rules can and do change. Please check regularly for any rule updates.

See our fisheries notices here or call the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.