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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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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