Bow fishing for carp allowed in NSW inland waters

Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall with fisherman Johan Boshoff.

BOWFISHING is a growing sport that has recently put carp in the spotlight.

New South Wales bowfishers can now safely fish with specialist equipment in specific inland waters of New South Wales, while helping to control pest populations.

New rules and regulations for the sport have been announced by Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall following extensive industry and community consultation.

“Carp are considered a noxious pest and remain the only species that can be caught using bow fishing gear,” Marshall said.

“This is a popular activity, and bow anglers will now be allowed to target carp using a straight bow with a specialist arrow attached to a tethered line and reel.

“The fishing community has called on the NSW government to have a serious discussion about allowing carp bow fishing, and I’m happy to announce that good news today. after the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) conducted a public consultation.”

Mr Marshall said a successful bow fishing trial for carp had already shown it could be safe, effective and deliver economic benefits to rural and regional areas of NSW.

“The trial program in 2016 and 2017 and its subsequent review identified that with the right regulations, bow fishing is a safe and sustainable technique,” Marshall said.

“This is in addition to the huge environmental benefits that come from removing nuisance carp from inland waters.

“It is important for bow anglers to understand the rules, regulations and technique surrounding the sport before getting into bow fishing.”

To help with education and awareness of rules and regulations, an NSW Recreational Bowfishing for Carp in Inland Waters guide is available via the NSW DPI website at

Bow fishing is prohibited in tidal waters, river and lake inlets, coastal lagoons, all offshore waters and estuaries, and all state beaches.

So we won’t see anyone archery off the local wall or pier anytime soon, but it’s a growing sport that now has the green light to tackle an environmental pest in inland waters.

It is also prohibited in declared trout waters to provide separation between trout anglers and bow anglers.

A valid NSW recreational fishing license is also required for Bowfish.

For safety reasons as part of the changes, bow fishing cannot be conducted within 50 meters of a person or vehicle not part of the fishing party, or within 100 meters from a dwelling, picnic area or campsite.

By Marianne Samson

Earnest A. Martinez