Baseline Socio-Economic Data for Queensland East Coast Inshore and Rocky Reef Fishery Stakeholders. Part C: Recreational Fishers

Tobin, R.C., Beggs, K., Sutton, S.G., and Penny, A. (2010) Baseline Socio-Economic Data for Queensland East Coast Inshore and Rocky Reef Fishery Stakeholders. Part C: Recreational Fishers. Report. Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

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Queensland’s East Coast Inshore and Rocky Reef Finfish Fisheries are important for commercial, charter and recreational fisheries, as well as Queensland seafood consumers. With a new Management Plan in development during this project for the East Coast Inshore Finish Fishery (the ‘Inshore Fishery’), and a revision of management for the Rocky Reef Finfish Fishery (the ‘Rocky Reef Fishery’) planned for the future, an opportunity arose to collect baseline socio-economic data for these fisheries prior to management change. This baseline data would provide the opportunity to assess the impacts of management change, and to also initiate a process of long-term socio-economic monitoring. Such monitoring would allow ongoing assessment of the current ‘health’ of the fishery and on-going fishery viability.

This report (Part C) outlines the baseline data for Queensland east coast saltwater recreational fishers. For the recreational fishery the distinction between the Inshore, Rocky Reef and remaining fisheries was not possible given the overlap in recreationally fished species between inshore and offshore habitats. Results focussed on Inshore and Rocky Reef Fisheries where possible. Baseline data were collected via fisher surveys in 2008 plus collation of existing data from other sources, prior to implementation of the new Inshore Fishery Management Plan. The baseline data also provide a test of many of the socio-economic indicators listed by fishery stakeholders in a workshop prior to the surveys. A brief summary of the most pertinent findings are provided here.

Results of this study highlight the social and economic importance of saltwater recreational fisheries to coastal communities in Queensland. Saltwater fisheries in particular provide a range of recreational opportunities to Queensland residents from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, with a significant number of people participating in the fishery each year, many who rate fishing among their top outdoor recreation activities. Further, most fishing occurs in inshore habitats, highlighting the importance of the Inshore Fishery.

The number of people who participate in recreational fishing each year in Queensland has been declining since 1996 (McInnes 2006) and results here suggest this decline is continuing. The high average age of saltwater recreational fishers, combined with the small proportion of the fisher population identified as being “new” fishers suggests that declining participation in the Inshore Fishery may continue to be an issue in the future. Continued monitoring of fishing participation rates and a better understanding of the factors that influence recreational fishing participation patterns should be a priority for this fishery.

Fishers surveyed in this study reported being generally satisfied with most of the aspects of saltwater fishing they were questioned about, although a substantial proportion reported declining fishing quality and fishing satisfaction over the past 5 years. This decline was related to fishers’ perceptions about access to resources, quality of fishing-related facilities, number of fish caught, and crowding in areas where they fish. If perceptions of fishing quality and satisfaction continue to decline, it is likely that some fishers will seek fishing experiences elsewhere, or will cease fishing in favour of other activities (Ditton and Sutton 2004; Gentner and Sutton 2008).

There was substantial support for recreational fisheries management among saltwater fishers in Queensland. In general, most fishers believed that conservation of fish populations was a high priority for fisheries management, and most believed that strict recreational fishing regulations are necessary to meet conservation goals. Most fishers also expressed support for the specific recreational fishing regulations in place at the time of the survey, including size, bag, and possession limits, closed seasons, closed areas, and no-take species. Continued monitoring of fishers’ knowledge and attitudes regarding management of the Inshore Fishery will be important, particularly after new management changes have been implemented.

Awareness of the proposed changes to the Inshore Fishery was low among recreational fishers, with only about half of surveyed fishers being aware there was a new plan being developed, and only about 30% being aware that a draft plan was released and open for comment at the time of the survey. Only a small minority (approximately 10%) of surveyed fishers reported that they had participated in the public consultation program to provide comments on the draft plan, and few fishers (approximately 30%) indicated they would likely participate in public consultation in the future. Likewise, only approximately 6% of fishers felt that their concerns were strongly considered by such consultation processes. More attention needs to be devoted to ensuring that recreational fishers feel adequately engaged in fisheries management decisions that affect them, and more research is needed to understand recreational fishers’ expectations regarding their engagement in fisheries management in Queensland.

The data presented here will be useful for long-term monitoring of this fishery into the future, and also for assessing the impacts of the new management initiatives. There are a number of areas requiring future monitoring including: 1) participation rates; 2) fishing quality and satisfaction; 3) support for management; and 4) engagement of fishers in management. Within each of those areas, we present and describe a number of potential indicator variables that could be useful for ongoing monitoring. Selection and refinement of those indicators is the next step in the process of developing a social indicators monitoring system for the Inshore Fishery, and will be undertaken in collaboration with a range of Inshore Fishery stakeholders.

Item ID: 11769
Item Type: Report (Report)
ISBN: 9780980688184
Keywords: Inshore fishery; Rocky Reef fishery; recreational fishery; Queensland east coast; socio-economics; indicators; demographics; fisheries management; consultation
Additional Information:

Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre Technical Report No 7.

FRDC Project No. 2007/048.

Funders: Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
Projects and Grants: FRDC 2007/048 Towards Evaluating the Socio-economic Impacts of Changes to Queensland’s Inshore Fishery Management
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2010 05:31
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070403 Fisheries Management @ 80%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 20%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830201 Fisheries Recreational @ 100%
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