Department of Agriculture and Fisheries


Getting Started

The QFish online interface uses interactive tables functioning as small databases which can be used to query Fisheries datasets using Filters, Rows, Columns and Measures (i.e. Values).

The information provided below is aimed at providing context, reference and assistance for the extraction of Commercial and Recreational fishing data using QFish. Several topics are presented and should be consulted prior to attempting data extraction. This will help facilitate more accurate data queries to ensure you are obtaining the most relevant and correct data to meet your specific needs.

If you have any concerns or questions about interpreting the accuracy or precision of data you extract from QFish, please contact the Fisheries Data Coordinator at




Catch and effort data available in the tables includes data obtained from Commercial, Harvest and Charter fishing (not to be confused with standard recreational fishing data found in the Recreational tables).

There are a number of Fields available to query Commercial fishing data. A list of Field definitions is provided below:




Weight (kg) – Weight of species caught and retained (in kilograms).

Weight (t) – Weight of species caught and retained (in tonnes).

Discard Namber - number of fish not retained (this is only shown for the charter and sharks and ray logbooks)


Days – Number of days the authority (fisher/licence) caught and retained product. Fishers are required to report their catch and effort against a date and these dates are then counted over the selected query criteria; the number will change depending on the criteria that has been defined (when, where and what etc.).

Licences – Number of authorities who have participated in fishing activities related to the selected query criteria; the number will change depending on the criteria that has been defined (when, where and what etc.).



Fishing Method – Identifies the type of fishing method being undertaken at the time of the catch and effort record (e.g. line, net, trawl, etc.).



Grid – A distinct Queensland fishing location measuring 30nm by 30nm; this location is identified by a code (e.g. W37). These codes are used by most fishers when reporting their daily catch and effort in their logbook. You can view these through the logbook maps.



Logbook Type – All fishers endorsed to fish within Queensland waters are required to report their catch and effort in a logbook. This logbook is provided based on the endorsements they carry. Generally three types of logbooks exist, commercial, harvest and charter. Commercial logbooks are those which contain information pertaining to ‘commercial’ fisheries such as otter trawl, beam trawl, line and net etc. Harvest logbooks are those which contain information relating to ‘harvest’ fisheries such as tropical rock lobster and freshwater eels etc. Charter logbooks are those which contain catch and effort data from charter tour operators.



Region – Boundaries that are based around latitude and longitude coordinates, grids and sites or landmarks specific to a commercial fishery, harvest fishery, recreational fishing area, condition and trend region, Mapstone region or horizontal band.



CAAB Code – Codes for Australian aquatic biota as per the CSIRO Marine Research website. For more information see:

Species – Common names of species caught and retained or discarded by Queensland fishers. Common names are a combination of the standard names provided on the CSIRO Marine Research website and the standard commercial names of species used by fishers. For more information see:

Species Group – A field which aggregates similar species (similarities in their naming and/or physical characteristics) into groups. As a large number of species are covered by the Queensland commercial, harvest and charter fisheries this field has been created to ensure easier navigation.



Calendar Year – From the 1st of January each year to the 31st of December of the same year.

Financial Year – From the 1st of July each year until the 30th of June the following year (spans across two calendar years).


Commercial Fishing Data Collection

Commercial, Harvest and Charter fisheries catch and effort data are recorded on separate Logbook Types specifically designed for the relevant fisheries (click here for more information). All Logbook Types report on species caught and fishing location, specifically Grids and Sites. A Grid is 30 nautical miles by 30 nautical miles and contains 25 Sites, each of which are 6 nautical miles by 6 nautical miles. To view/download spatial maps illustrating the logbook Grids and Sites, please click here.

Multiple fisheries fall under the Commercial Logbook Type group, whereas only a single Logbook Type exists for Charter fisheries. Harvest fisheries Logbook Types fall into two different categories based on how Fisheries Queensland reports on catch and effort data – those that are reported as weights and those reported as numbers. At this time QFish does not have the capacity to display catch and effort data for numbers-based Harvest fisheries so only data for weight-based Harvest fisheries is available.


Table 1. Fishery Logbook Type and Major Fishing Method(s)

Logbook Type

Fishery Name

Major Fishing Method(s)

Available in QFish


East Coast Line




East Coast Otter Trawl

Beam Trawl, Fish Trawling, Otter Trawl



Gulf Barramundi

Net, Pot



Gulf of Carpentaria Fin Fish Trawl

Fish Trawling



Gulf of Carpentaria Line




Gulf of Carpentaria Net





Beam Trawl, Line, Net, Pot



Net and Crab

Net, Pot



Northern Prawn

Otter Trawl



Research Log

Net, Pot



Reef Line Multi-hook




Shark and Ray

Line, Net



Spanish Mackerel




Spanner Crab




Stout Whiting

Danish Seine, Fish Trawling, Otter Trawl



Charter Vessel

Combination, Diving, Line, Pot



Adult Eel




Aquarium Fish

Collection, Diving



Beachworm, Bloodworm & Yabby

Bait Collection



Coral, Star Sand & Shell Grit




East Coast Beche-de-mer & Trochus

Collection, Diving



Juvenile Eel

Net, Trap



Marine Shell Collection




Tropical Rock Lobster




Data Extraction Using Predefined Queries

To assist users of QFish, Predefined Queries have been created as a starting point to obtain general data. Once the most appropriate Predefined Query has been selected, users can customise that query in order to meet specific data needs (see Customising Your Query below).

Predefined Queries are presented as annual queries which display catch and effort data by Calendar Year by default. The first Measure listed in the Data Area will be the value that is displayed on the map. As a default, all Maped Queries are set to the lastest complete year.


Customising Your Query

The Predefined Queries may not always meet a client’s specific data requirements; however, there are several ways to customise a Predefined Query. For example, you can change any of the pre-selected filters (e.g. Logbook Type, Fishing Method and Species Group) by clicking on the dropdown arrow and selecting the most appropriate option(s) within each filter.

Alternatively, you can click on the Customise Query tab, which contains other options to include in your query. To view available options, click on the “+” to expand each field. For example, by expanding the Time field, you can change from Calendar Year, which is the default setting in the Predefined Query, to Financial Year if that is more appropriate for your required dataset. Drag the fields of your choice from the Hidden Fields to one of the Filter, Row, Column or Data Areas in the table list. Once you have your table set up, click the Update button to view your results.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while customising your query:

1. Logbook Types are grouped together for simplicity within the cubes. However, if you are interested in obtaining data from a specific Logbook Type within either the Commercial or Harvest group, you can filter by fields such as Fishing Method, Species or Species Group and/or Region. It is important to keep in mind that filtering in this way will refine your dataset but does not guarantee that the data presented is representative of a single Logbook Type.

2. QFish does not have the capacity to have both Species Group and Species as Filters. If you know exactly what species you would like data for, use the CAAB Code and/or Species fields. If you are unsure of what species to query, use the Species Group field and expand to search for species.

3. The reporting of Species and subsequent CAAB Codes has changed over time in some Logbook Types. For example, in 2000 some prawn species previously grouped together under one CAAB Code and Species were split for individual species reporting, whereas other prawn species were grouped together instead. Similarly, after new management regulations were implemented for sharks and rays in 2009, more species-specific reporting has occurred. Such changes in Species reporting should be taken into consideration when analysing data trends over time. Unless you are fully aware of the management and reporting history surrounding a particular species, it is recommended that you include multiple Species options, such as the “unspecified” groups where applicable, when customising queries for specific species.

Note: If you find that the cubes cannot meet your specific data needs, you can contact that Fisheries Data Coordinator ( and go through the standard Data Request Process.


Data Extraction Using Custom Queries

You may choose to create your own Custom Query rather than using a Predefined Query. Select the Create Custom Query option and then drag the fields of your choice from the Hidden Fields to one of the Filter, Row, Column or Data Areas in the table list. Once you have your table set up, click the Update button to view your results. To remove fields from the table, drag the field back to the Hidden Fields.


Export Data

Once you have chosen and/or customised your query to meet you specific data requirements, you can export the data in a number of different forms. The table is available to export in PDF, HTML or Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) formats, while spatial maps are only available for export as a PDF.


Data Limitations

For reasons of confidentiality, a Five Boat Rule exists where only data associated with five or more boats operating (i.e. the count in the Licence field is five or higher) will be provided publicly. Where catch and effort data are present but deemed confidential under the Five Boat Rule, the data will be displayed in the data table as “N/A” and will subsequently not appear on the associated spatial map, where relevant. For similar reasons, catch and effort data are not provided to Site level on QFish but may be requested from Fisheries Queensland using the standard Data Request process.

Note: If you are encountering instances where “N/A” is appearing, try customising your query so that your data set is not as heavily refined.

When analysing your data, it is imperative to note that effort (i.e. days) cannot be summed. Furthermore, data displayed in the tabes does not include “zero effort days”, which are days where fishing effort was present but no catch was recorded.




Fisheries Queensland has conducted surveys of recreational fishers using two different survey methods (RFish methodology and the National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey (NRIFS) methodology). Because of their different approaches they cannot be compared directly.

In 2010, Fisheries Queensland conducted a Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey (SWRFS) based on the telephone-diary methods that was used successfully in Queensland in 2000–2001 as part of the NRIFS. This allows a direct comparison of estimates of the fishing activities of Queenslanders over this 10 year period.

Information about the methodology and the key findings of the SWRFS are presented in a report that can be downloaded from the DAFF website. (click here).

Recreational estimates – Confidence bands

Both the SWRFS and NRIFS were broad statewide surveys and were never intended to deliver fine scale estimates. The recreational fishing information available are estimates from sample data. As with all estimates, there is always uncertainty around them. To guide users DAFF has assigned all estimates to a confidence band so that users can assess how precise the estimates are. This confidence band is related to the relative standard error (RSE) and follows a classification system used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (see table below). The RSE is the standard error of the estimate divided by the estimate and expressed as a percentage.

Confidence band



Less than 25%


Between 25% and 50%


Greater than 50%

Whilst all effort was made during the surveys to collect unbiased data, there is always the possibility of sampling bias affecting the estimates. The probability of sampling bias affecting estimates is greater for scenarios where few data records were collected during the survey. As a guide, low catches (for example < 10,000 fish) indicate that a small number of independent catch records were collected. In most cases this will represent reality and the estimates are sufficient, however, users should acknowledge that sampling bias may be present in scenarios with few data records and it may affect the accuracy of any estimates.



  • Catch - All animals caught, this incudes those retained and released
  • Released - The animals caught then released
  • Retained - The animals caught and retained
  • Confidence - The level of confidence Fisheries Queensland has in the estimate. Allocated to a band, see above for further explanation

Fished From - Boat
- Type of boat from which the fishing was done.

  • charter
  • hire
  • no boat used - they fished soley from the shore
  • private

Fished From - Shore

- Type of shore from which the fishing was done.

  • Beach
  • Man-made private access
  • Not on shore - they fished from a boat
  • Other natural shore
  • Rocks


Boat owner (household) - If the household has a boat or not

  • has aboat
  • has no boat

Fishing Club Member (household) - If the household has at least one fishing club member

  • Has club member
  • Has no club member

Prior Annual Avidity (household) - The maximum recalled number of days fished by a member of the household in the 12 months preceding the survey.

  • Less than 5 days
  • 5 to 9 days
  • 10 to 14 days
  • 15 to 19 days
  • 20 or more days
  • No days

Residental Location - The residential location of the household, one of nine residential regions in Queensland.

Max Depth

- The maximum depth of water fished for boat based fishing that targeted bottom dwelling species.


- The fishing method used to catch the animals reported e.g. Cast net, diving, Line, Other and pot


- Identifies the two surveys of which 2000 is the National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey and the 2010 survey which is the Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey

Water Body

Water - Fresh V Salt - Identifies if the fishing took place in fresh or marine waters

Water - geographic type - Identifies the type of waterbody the fishing took place in e.g. estuary, ocean, river and dam


Shark Control Program

The responsibility for managing the Queensland Shark Control Program (the Program) on behalf of the Queensland government lies with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). The aim of the Program is to reduce the chance of shark attacks on humans by removing large and potentially dangerous sharks from 85 popular beaches along the Queensland coastline. The government maintains a strong commitment to maintaining the safety of beach users in Queensland. For more information go to

Program apparatus includes nets and baited drumlines which is serviced every second day, weather permitting, by external contractors. Each time the apparatus is serviced an Activity Report is completed by the contractor. The Program commenced in 1962 the information captured on these reports has been entered into the departments database. Unfortunately the catch data stored in the database prior to 1996 is unreliable and cannot be verified and therefore will not be displayed.


• Overall length – All animals caught are measured from the tip of the head to the furthest part of the tail fin.
• Number Caught – All animals caught in Program apparatus, this includes those animals released alive.


• There are 10 areas in which the Program operates along the Queensland coastline from the Gold Coast to Cairns


• Each of the 10 areas has a number of beaches in which the Program operates


• The number of animals caught and died or released alive (e.g. all sharks deemed dangerous to humans are not releases alive. Non-dangerous sharks and other non-target species are released alive where possible)


• Identifies the type of fishing method utilised at the time of the catch (e.g. net or drumline)


• Denotes if the animal is male or female

Shark Lengths

• Length category – allocates the lengths into three categories - <2m, >=2m and Non-shark
• Length range - allocates all shark lengths into ranges of 0-1m, 1-2m, 2-3m, 3-4m, 4-5m, 5m+ and Non-shark

Species Type

• Species Group - A field which aggregates similar species (similarities in their naming and/or physical characteristics) into groups.
• Species Name - Common names of species caught by the Program.
• CAAB Code – Codes for Australian aquatic biota as per the CSIRO Marine Research website. For more information see:


• Calendar Year - From the 1st of January each year to the 31st of December of the same year.
• Financial Year - From the 1st of July each year until the 30th of June the following year (spans across two calendar years).
• Month – From the 1st day to the last day of each calendar month.