Recreational fishing is permitted in Port Stephens, provided anglers exercise the two-person limit and social distancing COVID-19 regulations.
In a response from the Department of Primary Industry to the confusion over mixed messaging on fishing, a spokesperson said while brief fishing trips from home were considered exercise, fishing and camping holidays were not.
"Don't think if you pack up your fishing, camping or hunting gear this Easter or school holiday break and travel into country NSW that you are doing it legally - you are not."
That advice on recreational fishing was reinforced by NSW Police, "as long as people follow all other advice in relation to social distancing and gatherings of two or more people".
"While brief fishing trips from home are considered exercise (within the two-person limit), fishing and camping holidays are not," police said.
"The inclusion of fishing, hunting and golf as an allowable recreation is about people who can access that activity locally. You cannot use fishing, hunting or golf as an excuse to travel on a holiday or to your usual retreat in country NSW."
The advice earlier in the week from Port Stephens Council was for people to make their own assessment as to whether their reasons for leaving home met the definitions from the NSW Government Public Health Order.
"Health orders to stay home have been issued by the NSW Government to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19. You may only leave home with a reasonable excuse ... people are required to make their own assessment."
The state and federal government, police and other agencies are imploring people to stay home and avoid all non-essential travel during the Easter long weekend. Anyone caught travelling without a "reasonable excuse" could face a fine of up to $11,000.