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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 5 April 2018

Recreational fishing survey underway in Shark Bay

​An innovative 12-month survey of recreational fishing activity at Shark Bay is now underway, to help ensure the ongoing sustainability of key fish stocks in the World Heritage listed area.

Shark Bay’s inner gulfs are popular fishing destinations, well known for pink snapper, which attract many thousands of tourists each year.

Principal investigator Dr Gary Jackson, from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, said a team made up of Perth and Denham based research staff were carrying out the survey.

“Researchers will be on the ground interviewing recreational fishers about their catches at boat ramps at Monkey Mia, Denham and Nanga - while ‘eyes in the sky’ will provide a new source of additional data,” Dr Jackson said. 

“For the first time in Shark Bay, a drone and fixed wing aircraft, as well as boat ramp cameras, will be used in combination to monitor recreational boating activity. 

“The fishery is in a remote location so the range of innovative survey methods are being implemented to collect data effectively and efficiently.”


 The drone undergoing a trial for DPIRD fisheries research monitoring

Information from the survey will be used to estimate levels of recreational fishing activity and numbers of fish caught to help assess the status of local fish stocks.

Results of the survey will be used to assess the effect of changes to management of pink snapper in the Freycinet Estuary.

Dr Jackson said that the first survey of recreational fishing in Shark Bay was in 1983 and long term monitoring of recreational fishing in the area was essential to provide on-going scientific assessment of the resource.

“In this World Heritage area, recreational fishers have played an important role for many years in providing information to help assess the Shark Bay fishery and guide sustainable management strategies,” he said.

“It is imperative to protect this valuable fishery and support the future of recreational fishing-based tourism at Shark Bay, which makes a significant contribution to the regional economy.

 “We look forward to the public’s ongoing support and participation in surveys like this, which reinforces WA’s enviable reputation as a world-leader in sustainable fisheries management and our long term goal to ensure there are enough fish for the future for everyone to enjoy.”

Last modified: 5/04/2018 2:25 PM

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