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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 21 February 2023

World Recreational Fishing Conference: Finding out who goes fishing in WA

Ensuring that fisheries management is focussed on sustainability with equitable access to all sectors is a key driver in Western Australia backed by scientific assessments of aquatic resources.

Researchers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) are this week presenting at the World Recreational Fishing Conference in Melbourne to explain the methods used in WA to benefit the recreational fishing community.

The conference theme, ‘Keeping Pace in a Dynamic and Challenging World with Changing Fisheries’, acknowledges the challenges faced by researchers, managers and fishers involved in recreational fisheries.
Senior DPIRD Research Scientist Eva Lai told the conference that obtaining regular, reliable data was vital to evaluating whether management agencies were achieving community outcomes.

“In WA, the participation rate in recreational fishing and the community’s satisfaction are estimated through annual surveys that provide key performance indicators for how our fish resources are used and to assess support for management strategies,” Dr Lai said.

“Knowing the number of days that people go fishing and the regional distribution of fishing effort as well as the age, gender and geographic distribution of fishers who complete interviews helps us find out more about their experiences.   

“Recreational fishing in Western Australia is economically and socially important, especially in regional areas.” 

In another DPIRD presentation, Senior Research Scientist Claire Smallwood said resource sharing between stakeholders was an increasingly important focus for management to ensure equitable access and sustainability, based on informed decision making.

Dr Smallwood used the example of blue swimmer crabs, as one of WA’s most-commonly harvested species, explaining that their biology and distribution meant that stocks were usually managed as separate, small-scale fisheries.
 Recreational fishers enjoying crabbing in the Peel Harvey region

“These crab fisheries can range from being predominantly commercial, such as Shark Bay in the Gascoyne region, to recreational only in Geographe Bay and Leschenault Estuary in the lower West Coast region,” Dr Smallwood said.

“The management arrangements for these fisheries vary and offer good case studies for exploring how the different types of metrics can be used to measure harvest by the different sectors.

“This provides a better understanding of the social aspects of recreational fisheries, such as fisher demographics and fishing satisfaction.”  


Last modified: 21/02/2023 4:49 PM

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