Agriculture and aquaculture

South Australian commercial fishing licences

Licence names

  • Charter boat fishing
  • Fish processor registration
  • Marine scalefish, including sardine and mud cockle
  • Rock lobster - southern zone and northern zone
  • Abalone - southern, central and western zone
  • Prawns - Gulf of St Vincent, Spencer Gulf, west coast
  • Blue crab
  • Lakes and Coorong, including pipi - Goolwa cockle
  • Permits and exemptions


Information about the fees associated with commercial fishing can be found in the individual commercial fishing licence forms.


Licence terms are aligned with the length of time of the fisheries management plan.

If there is no management plan licences are annual.

Permits can be provided for anything from one to three years.


Commercial wildcatch fisheries in South Australia include:

  • marine-based fisheries for species such as abalone, garfish, King George whiting, mullet, pilchards, prawns, rock lobster, snapper, tuna, tommy ruff and sharks
  • estuarine and freshwater fisheries targeting callop, carp, cockles, flounder, mullet, mulloway, Murray cod and yabbies.

Access to the state's commercial wildcatch fisheries is restricted. The fisheries are managed through limited entry regimes and controlled by:

  • input controls (controlling what goes into the water, such as limitations on the number of licences issued, gear restrictions, seasonal closures and limits on total fishing time)
  • output controls (controlling what comes out of the water, such as directly limiting the number of fish that can be landed).

Commercial fishers

Commercial fishers in South Australia need to:

  • hold a licence or permit in respect of the particular fishery
  • register the boat to be used for fishing activity under a licence or permit in respect of the fishery
  • ensure that the person in charge of the boat is registered as the master of the boat
  • register devices to be used for fishing activity under a licence or permit in respect of the fishery.

How to apply

Currently, there are no new licences available for any of South Australia's commercial wildcatch fisheries. Access to these fisheries is only available through licence transfer.

Under the Fisheries Management Act 2007 the Director of Fisheries can issue policy directives, notices and ministerial permits and exemptions to allow for permits and exemptions in specific circumstances.

The PIRSA Fisheries website has information about:

  • specific licences associated with commercial fishing in South Australia
  • licence transfer
  • licence holders.

Related information

Other websites

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Page last updated 13 February 2018

Provided by:
Department of Primary Industries and Regions
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