Bow fishing for carp permitted in NSW inland waters

By Michael Gibson | October 6, 2021

Bow anglers can now legally target carp after new rules and regulations for the sport were announced today by Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall.

The regulatory change was backed by a successful 18-month trial that ran from late 2015 to mid-2017, during which 200 designated bowfishers removed over 700 carp from 42 selected sites. . The sport of bowfishing has proven to be safe, sustainable and can generate economic benefits for rural and regional areas of NSW.

Anti-everything groups opposed the bowfishing lawsuit, but common sense prevailed in this case.

Mr Marshall said the changes would allow bow anglers to fish safely with specialist equipment in specific NSW inland waters while helping to control pest populations and come after a 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.

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

“The fishing community has asked the NSW Government to have a serious discussion about allowing carp bow fishing, and I am happy to deliver this good news today after the Department of Industries NSW primaries 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.

Bow fishing is now prohibited in tidal waters, river and lake inlets, coastal lagoons, all offshore waters and estuaries, and all beaches in the state. Declared trout waters will be closed to bow fishing to ensure separation between trout anglers and bow anglers. A valid NSW recreational fishing license is also required.

As part of the modifications, it cannot be carried out less than 50 meters from a person or a vehicle that is not part of the fishing group, or less than 100 meters from a dwelling, a picnic or camping.

The bow fishing guide can be found here.

Earnest A. Martinez