Recreational fishing surveys

2021 Northern Territory recreational fishing survey - make your catch count

The 2021 recreational fishing survey has commenced.

The aim of the survey is to identify:

  • the number of people who fish
  • where they are from
  • where and when they go
  • how much time they spend fishing (effort)
  • what fishing methods they use
  • how often they fish the new artificial reef sites
  • key target species
  • catch and release rates
  • size (length data) on several important recreational species

From March 2021, survey interviewers will be working at boat ramps around the greater Darwin and Dundee areas asking a few questions about your day on the water.

The survey only takes a few minutes to complete and interviewers are clearly recognisable by their 'Make your catch count' shirts.

At the completion of the survey period, the data will be analysed before a final report is produced and made publicly available in 2022.

Data collected will help us monitor and sustainably manage the Northern Territory's fish stocks.

Previous surveys

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The 2018-19 Territory-wide recreational fishing survey results will be available in late 2021.

The aim of the 2018-19 survey was to identify:

  • the number of people who fish
  • where and when they go
  • key target species
  • catch rates
  • how much effort, money and time people spend undertaking one of the Northern Territory’s great pastimes - fishing.

The Survey of Recreational Fishing in the Greater Darwin Area 2015 report includes detailed information relating to recreational fishing activities in the coastal area surrounding Darwin.

Specifically, the report includes details on:

  • where people fish
  • how much time they spend fishing (effort)
  • what fishing methods they use
  • the type and number of fish harvested or released during the survey period.

Additional information is provided on:

  • the size (length) of some socially important fish species
  • details on the size of recreational fishing vessels
  • level of technology used by recreational anglers.

Read the 2015 survey results PDF (3.4 MB).

The survey of recreational fishing in the greater Darwin Area 2014 report include detailed information relating to recreational fishing activities in the coastal area surrounding Darwin.

The report includes details on:

  • where people fish
  • how much time they spend fishing (effort)
  • what fishing methods they use
  • type and number of fish harvested or released.

Additional information is provided on:

  • the size (length) of some socially important fish species
  • details on the size of recreational fishing vessels
  • level of technology used by recreational anglers.

The results from this report will be incorporated into future stock assessments and harvest strategy development and will benefit the recreational fishing sector by ensuring that our Top End fisheries are managed in a sustainable way.

Read the 2014 survey results PDF (3.1 MB).

In 2009-10 a major recreational fishing survey was carried out across the Territory. The report from that study represents the third comprehensive assessment of recreational fishing in the NT.

In each of the studies, the main survey instrument has been the same: an off-site telephone/diary survey with stratified random sampling from telephone listings in the White Pages and expansion of all survey results to Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates of the non-Indigenous resident population.

Fishing activity by interstate and overseas visitors is also assessed in these surveys.

Read the 2009-10 survey background and results PDF (2.7 MB).


Last updated: 16 June 2021

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