Recreational fishing restrictions in SA - keeping our fish stocks healthy


South Australians have at least heard of minimum sizes of creatures, boat limits and protected species. What we might not know, is why these restrictions are in place. At its core, size, bag, boat and possession limits are enforced by PIRSA to protect aquatic stocks and safeguards that there are enough fish for the future. They ensure the number and correct size of fish are taken, allowing adolescent species to continue to grow and breed.

PIRSA’s fishing limits ensure the long-term health of our fish stocks, whereby it is critical that enough fish of each species remain in the water to reproduce and replace the numbers removed each year. For example, the legal size for the blue swimmer crab is 11cm measured across the carapace from the base of the largest spines. The personal daily bag limit for this species is 20, and the daily boat limit when combined with other people is 60. Moreover, egg bearing female crabs are a protected species and must be returned to the water immediately. If these rules are not followed, a maximum penalty of $20,000 applies. To keep up to date on the latest rules visit

At the Marine Discovery Centre we educate our visitors on sustainable fishing through interactive and educational fishing games. We have a couple of fishing rods and fish to catch, where they then can be taken to our fish measuring station to see if they’re legal or need to be thrown back.

This is an excellent way to simulate how to approach fishing on a jetty or along the coast, where the fish measuring stations can be found in the area. If there are none, PIRSA has created an app called SA Recreational Fishing Guide, which can be downloaded on the App Store or on Google Play. Next time you’re out fishing, bear these rules in mind to ensure the longevity of our marine life. Happy fishing!