Coronavirus impacts how you can go fishing

Government explains social distancing requirements.


Tangled lines of communication on the impact of COVID-19 for recreational fishing have been clarified by the State Government.

There was speculation new social distancing rules announced by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 29 March meant all fishing was off-limits.

However, Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey on 31 March said Queenslanders could still take their boats out on local waters to fish or for essential travel.

“If you own a boat and want to head out in the water in your local community to fish for food this weekend, you can,” Mr Bailey said. 

“If you need your boat to travel locally in your community, you can still do that.

“If you want to head out on your kayak or stand-up paddle board for exercise, you still can.

“State Government boat ramps will remain open to boaties.”


Mr Bailey said it was important the social distancing rules were followed and “no one should be leaving their home unless it’s absolutely necessary”.

He said recent national directives limiting public gatherings to two people or less and restricting travel to essential purposes still applied.

“This isn’t a special rule to let people out on the water for non-essential reasons this weekend,” Mr Bailey said.

“There’s no reason for anyone to be taking the boat out unless it’s for essential travel to get to work, to and from your home, to local shops for provisions or catching fish for your family.

“Even then, there should be no more than two people, or immediate family members on board, and the social distancing rules everyone is being asked to follow still apply.

“Boaties should also be mindful of hygiene when putting boats in the water at public facilities.”

Man fishing on boat

Sandgate bait and tackle store Tackle Land’s Richard Baskerville said as long as boaties followed social distancing rules then fishing was no different to people going for a walk.

“For people who are residing together it is fine,” Mr Baskerville said.

“But you can’t have two mates from two different households meeting up at the boat ramp and going out fishing.

“In regard to boat ramps, and even the bigger boat ramps, you are only looking at six or seven people that can fit at any one time as opposed to the thousands that are still walking around shopping centres.

“You can’t go recreational boating, like bouncing around on a jet-ski, but if you are fishing for food then yes you can do that but again you have to apply the social distancing rules. For a couple of family members living together, it should not be an issue.”

Mr Baskerville said the same social distancing rules applied to people fishing off land.

He said fishing, like any form of exercise, was a great way to deal with mental stress which has been heightened for some people during the pandemic.

“As long as you are practising the social distancing rules, there is nothing wrong with having a sanity break for an hour or so,” Mr Baskerville said.

Mr Bailey encouraged boaties to continue monitoring the national health advice on COVID-19 for any changes.

“As the nation works together to stop the spread of the virus, there is new advice daily,” he said.

“Boaties should be aware of the current restrictions on boat use, and be prepared for that advice to change again, should tougher rules to limit public movements and interaction come in.”