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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Wednesday 22 February 2023

World Recreational Fishing Conference: Comparing WA's digital data collection

Fisheries researchers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) have been shining a light on Western Australian projects to support recreational fishing at a world conference in Melbourne this week.

The World Recreational Fishing Conference has been hearing from fisheries experts, researchers, policymakers, industry and anglers who are sharing the science, issues, experiences and vision under the theme of ‘Keeping Pace in a Dynamic and Challenging World with Changing Fisheries’.

DPIRD Principal Research Scientist Karina Ryan presented on the increasing use of digital technology, which is becoming widely adopted to collect real-time data for the recreational sector and how that data compares with more traditional fishing survey methods.

Dr Ryan said the aim of the research was to undertake comparative studies that looked at the potential biases associated with digital survey methods, such as Apps and SMS, compared to telephone interview methods.

“In our research on inland recreational fishing for marron and freshwater finfish, we found that compared to computer-assisted telephone interviewing, digital modes had a lower response rate yet higher survey completions by fishers,” Dr Ryan said.

"Importantly, both survey methods produced similar distributions of estimated days fished.” 

 Trout angling is one of the popular freshwater fishing activities in WA

Dr Ryan presented another paper to the Melbourne conference on the importance of understanding variability in the fishing effort among recreational fishers, to help inform management policies to improve sustainability.

“This research explores the variability in participation of boat-based recreational fishing in WA according to fisher demographics and fishing behaviours using annual surveys between 2011 and 2021,” Dr Ryan said.

“We found that highly avid fishers, those who fished 20 or more days per year, consistently represented 30 per cent of all fishers across all years. 

“This research also found the participation rate of fishers from rural tropical locations was almost double that of urban temperate locations along the WA coast.

“This study contributes to understanding the impact of fisher heterogeneity (diversity) on monitoring and management of recreational fisheries, particularly in the context of populations that are undergoing demographic changes”. 

Last modified: 22/02/2023 2:10 PM

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