Commercial fishing observer program

A whale breaching out of the water off Sydney Harbour


This program will help to inform key knowledge gaps around threats to protected and threatened species from NSW commercial fisheries.

What’s involved:

Scientific observers collect and analyse data gathered during commercial fishing operations. Current commercial fisheries involved include:

13 NSW OTL commercial fishers are testing new technology in day-to-day operations to assist a study investigating how to reduce whale entanglements in fishing gear.

DPI researchers are examining the impact of commercial fishing on all marine animals including threatened and protected species.

These projects will:

  • address key knowledge gaps on interactions between commercial fisheries and marine wildlife
  • give stakeholders greater scientific evidence to inform measures to support sustainable fishing
  • test implementation of new technology.

Latest news


Estuaries sampled include:Ocean ports sampled include:
Tweed RiverBrunswick Heads
Richmond RiverBallina
Clarence RiverEvans Head
Macleay RiverCoffs Harbour
Wallis LakeSouth West Rocks
Port StephensForster

Lead agency

  • NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)


  • NSW Commercial fishers
  • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - Environment, Energy and Science
  • Professional Fishermen’s Association
  • Oceanwatch Australia


To find out more, contact:

Daniel Johnson
P – 02 4916 3924
E –

Page last updated/reviewed: 15 Jun 2020