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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
​  Survey results due in mid-2022​
Tuesday 21 December 2021

Survey captures fish tales from twenty thousand fishers

One of the most comprehensive surveys of its kind in Australia has been completed to ensure Western Australia’s fisheries remain sustainable and among the best in the world.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), in collaboration with Edith Cowan University (ECU) and Recfishwest, conducted the 2020/21 Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey to provide an updated estimate WA’s boat-based fishing catch.

DPIRD scientists now have all the survey data and will commence analysis, with results expected to be available in mid-2022.



DPIRD senior research scientist Karina Ryan said more than 20,000 fishers took part in the survey, with data collection supported by 20 boat ramp interviewers from DPIRD and 50 phone interviewers from the ECU Survey Research Centre.

“This major boat fishing survey has been conducted every two to three years since 2011 to compare catches over time,” Ms Ryan said.

“It uses an innovative format involving a 12-month phone-diary survey, talking to fishers at boat-ramps to collect information on size of key species caught and remote camera video monitoring of traffic at popular boat ramps to generate fishing catch estimates across the State.

“Data collected from recreational fishers includes their fishing activity, as well as attitudinal and socio-economic information.”

Ms Ryan said survey participants were randomly selected from across the State and were representative of the range of fishers that go fishing in WA each year.

Along with annual commercial and charter fishing catch data, the survey provides up-to-date information on boat-based recreational fishing to help DPIRD manage its aquatic resources.

Results from the previous survey in 2017/18 revealed western rock lobster was the most popular species overall, with about 695,000 caught, and school whiting was the most popular finfish, with an estimated 259,000 caught. 

“We will keep working with our research partners at Recfishwest and ECU to improve our understanding of fishing throughout the State and in each bioregion to ensure WA’s fisheries remain sustainable,” Ms Ryan said.

To learn more about this survey and view results from previous years, visit the department’s website.
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Last modified: 21/12/2021 1:12 PM

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