Implications of recreational fishing for elasmobranch conservation in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Lynch, Ann-Maree, Sutton, Stephen G., and Simpfendorfer, Colin A. (2010) Implications of recreational fishing for elasmobranch conservation in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Aquatic Conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems , 20 (3). pp. 312-318.

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Abstract

1. 309 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park recreational fishers were surveyed to examine recreational catch and harvest of elasmobranchs and to explore recreational fishers’ handling behaviour and attitudes. 2. Elasmobranchs represented 6% of fishers’ total catch of all fish (including released individuals), and 0.8% of fishers’ total harvest (i.e. retained individuals) across all survey days. The majority of elasmobranchs caught by fishers were released, primarily because they were perceived as being inedible. 3. Recreational fishers’ self-reported handling and release behaviour for elasmobranchs is largely consistent with ‘best practice’ guidelines except that fishers had low use of circle hooks and barbless hooks, and a significant proportion (33%) reported using stainless steel hooks. 4. Most fishers had positive attitudes towards elasmobranchs, placing high importance on releasing sharks and rays in good condition (86%), high value on their existence (84%), and low value on catching them (63%). 5. Results indicate that post-release mortality is probably the largest source of recreational fishing mortality of elasmobranchs in the Great Barrier Reef. Future research should be targeted at obtaining better estimates of species-specific post-release mortality levels, understanding how post-release survival can be increased by changing fishing techniques or fisher behaviour, and developing more effective methods of engaging fishers in elasmobranch conservation.

Item ID: 5642
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1099-0755
Keywords: elasmobranch conservation; Great Barrier Reef; recreational fishing; shark; ray
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2009 23:56
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830201 Fisheries Recreational @ 100%
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