Angler diary monitoring of recreational fishing in selected Victorian waters during 2009-2010
Recreational Fishing Grant Program - Research report
PROJECT NUMBER: R/08/09/06
Simon Conron, Thérèse Bruce, Natalie Bridge and Daniel Grixti.
Since 2006, a number of formal Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) have been established to guide the management of recreational-only fisheries in selected Victorian estuarine and fresh waters. These FMPs have specified the need to establish or maintain volunteer angler diary programs as a cost-effective means of monitoring fishery trends and assessing the status of key target fish stocks.
This report presents a time series of information on fishery trends and the status of key target species from angler diary programs in the Anderson Inlet, Mallacoota Inlet, Lake Tyers, Glenelg River and Hopkins River estuaries, and in the Kiewa River in north-east Victoria. Trends in the estuary fisheries are an update of previously published information (Conron et al. 2010a).
'Research' angler diarists target particular key species identified in FMPs and provide a time series of information on catch rates, length and age structure of the target population, the relative strength of successive year classes, and patterns of recruitment to the fishery. 'General' angler diarists have no constraints on target species and provide information on target species preferences and catch composition in particular waterbodies.
Data from the angler diary program suggest that populations of key target fish species in selected Victorian waterbodies, while variable from year to year, currently show no evidence of persistent declines in abundance. The mean catch rates for the majority of species targeted remained relatively constant or fluctuated within ranges observed in previous years.
Dusky flathead catch rates were low during 2009/10, particularly in Mallacoota Inlet. While there is no evidence of a persistent decline in overall abundance of dusky flathead in Mallacoota Inlet or Lake Tyers, low catch rates, combined with a reduction in the proportion of large dusky flathead (≥ 50 cm TL) in recreational catches, suggests that dusky flathead populations should continue to be closely monitored in the future.
Ongoing monitoring using the 'research' angler diary program, particularly for dusky flathead, is needed to effectively monitor the population structure and abundance of key species in selected waterbodies where no other cost-effective methods are available.
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