Carlie Devine, CSIRO
Recreational fishers are being surveyed at boat ramps on Tasmania's east coast, and a boat ramp sensor method is being trialled. Image: Carlie Devine, CSIRO

Australia’s recreational fishing sector is moving further offshore, from state waters to adjacent commonwealth waters managed by the Australian Government.

In commonwealth waters, recreational fishers may interact with 'matters of environmental significance' relevant to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, Australian Marine Parks (AMP), and commercial fisheries managed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). Most recreational fisheries research, however, is state based.

This project sought to better understand the motivations and values recreational fishers, by examining existing state datasets from two case study sites: the Hunter AMP off New South Wales and Ningaloo AMP off Western Australia. Researchers also explored the potential for these datasets to describe the recreational catch of commercial species of interest to AFMA (Yellowfin 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, adjacent to the Freycinet Australian Marine Park, trialled a boat ramp questionnaire to determine recreational fishers' understanding of management, values and uses of offshore areas. A novel low-cost ramp sensor method was trialled in conjunction with the boat ramp interviews to determine total use across the field work period and peak timings for vessel departures and returns.