The numbers of anglers across the state are estimated to be higher than the last survey in 2013/14 that found around 277,000 South Australians enjoyed fishing on a regular basis.

The newest figures, collected for the 2021/22, show that approximately 357,000 or about 1 in 4 South Australians went fishing over the survey period.

The most popular species fished by recreational anglers by approximate number of fish include King George Whiting, Blue Crab, Pipi, Australian Herring (Tommy Ruff) and Calamari. All these species are considered sustainable by SARDI stock assessments.  

Saltwater fishing recorded approximately 1.1 million days of fishing effort, while freshwater anglers spent approximately 220,000 days fishing over the 12-month survey period.

Most of the fishing effort was undertaken with line. Other popular equipment included crab nets, cray and lobster pots.

Recognising the importance of the Recreational Fishing sector in South Australia, the Malinauskas Government made a range of commitments for recreational anglers in the lead up to the last election. Many of these commitments are already completed, or well underway, including:

  • Reinstating RecFish SA as the funded independent peak body for Recreational Fishing in SA
  • Recognising recreational fishing as an activity in the Sport and Recreation sector, making fishing clubs eligible for government grants (fishing clubs are encouraged to apply for the current round of the Active Club Grants program)
  • Better communicating the science behind fisheries decisions, as occurred during the decision-making process for the Snapper ban extension
  • Increasing participation in recreational fishing amongst women, children, and diverse multicultural communities. This is important as the new survey shows women make up just 37% of estimated recreational fishers in South Australia.

Work between the state government and RecFish SA is ongoing to identify fishing infrastructure priorities and to develop a recreational fishing tourism plan, recognising recreational fishing as a key stakeholder in the SA tourism industry.

All these measures will continue to strengthen recreational fishing in South Australia, realising its economic and social potential and importance across our state.

The state government will work with key stakeholders such as RecFish SA, to ensure a sustainable and accessible recreational fishery both now, and for generations to come.

It is pleasing that recreational fishing in South Australia continues to get stronger, with increasing participation co-existing with sustainable management of our marine resources.

I look forward to continuing to deliver on our election commitments for the sector, many of which have been delivered or are on track to be delivered. This will ensure that the recreational fishing community can continue to grow, with all the benefits that brings the state, and in particular regional economies.

Clare Scriven

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development

It’s really positive to see South Australians getting out and enjoying fishing, and to be doing so in a sustainable way.

Recognising the community interest, our Government took a broad suite of recreational fishing policies to last year’s election, designed to make fishing a more accessible and community-oriented recreational activity.

For many, recreational fishing improves physical and mental health and wellbeing, and encourages enjoyment of our natural environment. Our work with recreational fishers focuses on enabling people to experience the many benefits that recreational fishing brings.

Katrine Hildyard

Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing