Australia’s recreational fishing sector is moving further offshore in pursuit of fishing opportunities, which places them in areas managed by the Australian Government. As recreational fishers are key stakeholders in marine management a better understanding of their motivations and values are required to effectively inform administration of the EPBC Act - such as effects on matters of national environmental significance - use of Australian Marine Parks (AMP) and Commonwealth managed commercial fisheries. Most recreational fisheries research is state based and we will both assess and contrast the general utility of existing state datasets from WA and NSW for quantifying recreational fishing in adjacent Commonwealth waters. At two case study sites – the Hunter and Ningaloo AMP – we will also test if state data can be downscaled to example areas of interest.
Across both States (NSW and WA), data will also be scrutinised for its utility to describe the recreational catch of a priority list of species suggested by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Yellow fin tuna, Striped marlin, Swordfish, Blue trevalla, Pink ling, Gummy shark, School shark, Eastern gemfish, Flathead (blue spot) and deepwater flathead. In addition to these desktop studies a field work component along Tasmania’s east coast, which is adjacent to the well-established Freycinet Australian Marine Park, will trial a boat ramp questionnaire to determine recreational fishers understanding of management, values and uses of offshore areas. Finally, a novel low-cost ramp sensor method will be trialled in conjunction with the boat ramp interviews to determine total use across the field work period and peak timings for departures and returns of vessels.