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Drought, bushfires and COVID-19 take their toll on sales in Australia’s foremost fishing location


Spending in one of Australia’s most prolific recreational fishing states in 2019/20 is down by 8%.

The fall is revealed among data contained in a new report examining spend, participation and locations in New South Wales (NSW), renowned as one of the best fishing locations in the country.

In a year blighted by drought, bushfires and COVID-19, one of the state’s most valuable industries for coastal and inland communities saw recreational fishers spend $2,138m ($2,117m the previous year), with $21,500 being spent on charter fishing.

The report, released by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, also reveal that 69% of recreational fishing activity took place in marine waters. Most freshwater fishing occurred in rivers (20%) with 11% concentrated on lakes and dams.

During 2018-19, a total of 470,046 licences (three-day, one month, one year and three years) were sold, a 4.4% drop year-on-year and almost 12% down on the 552,105 sold in in 2009-10.

An estimated 275,000 long-term (one and three year) licence holders and their households fished at least once in the 12 months prior to September 2018. Males accounted for 88% of this group, compared with 12%  females. The highest number of anglers in recreational fishing licence households who fished in 2017-18 was in the 45-59 years age group.

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