New and innovative approaches to monitoring small-scale recreational fisheries

2008/005    New and innovative approaches to monitoring small-scale recreational fisheries

Principal Investigator:           Your fishing licence fees at work        
Dr James S. Andrews
Leading Scientist Aquatic Sciences and Technical Services
Fisheries Management and Science Branch

2A Bellarine Highway, Queenscliff, Victoria, 3225
Tel: (03) 5258 0232           
Fax: (03) 5258 0270

April 2014
Recreational Fishing Grants Program Research Report

Non-technical summary

This study provides confidence in 'research-angler' diary (RAD) and 'general-angler' diary (GAD) programs as innovative approaches to monitoring small-scale recreational fisheries. Both programs were found to be cost-effective, scientifically robust if managed diligently, and supported by the angling community, fishery managers, and researchers as methods suitable for monitoring recreational fisheries. RAD and GAD programs can foster greater stewardship and engagement of stakeholders in the collection of information needed for fisheries management and sustainable use of key fisheries resources in recreational fisheries. Whilst such programs are reliable and most cost-effective for monitoring any-sized recreational fishery, they are particularly suited to providing data for assessment of small-scale, data-poor recreational fisheries in estuarine and inland waters.

Accepted by researchers across Australia, the findings from the present study resolved the debate about whether 'angler-diary' data provide for satisfactory scientific rigour in monitoring recreational fisheries. The RAD method provides for valid stock-performance indicators, whereas the GAD method provides for valid fishery-performance indicators. Furthermore, RAD and GAD programs can include routine tag release-recapture and sampling for age determinations, which enable application of spatially- and age-structured, stock-assessment models. These innovative monitoring methods provide a basis for a consistent national approach to monitoring and to enhanced management of recreational fisheries.

A guide ('tool kit') provides for the establishment of RAD and GAD programs to enhance the ability of government, industry, researchers and recreational fishers to apply 'angler-diary' programs. The tool kit is based on review of monitoring programs for fishery management, including review of the utility of the available monitoring methods, and the results of power analysis of available data from past and present RAD and GAD programs. The tool kit is also developed from the results and costing of field trials from the present project comparing catch rates and catch length-frequency composition among the RAD and fishery-independent survey (FIS) methods and on reported information from application of angler-diary programs as case studies addressing fishery-management questions in Victoria and Queensland. A Queensland case study demonstrates how 'angler-diary' programs could incorporate routine tag and release of fish for improved understanding of availability and movement of various size classes in a population among regions.

Victoria's ongoing 'angler-diary' programs won two prestigious awards as part of World Environment Day Awards 2011: the United Nations Association of Australia's Excellence in Marine and Coastal Management Award and the Victorian Coastal Council Awards for Excellence 2011 Community Action and Partnership. Media coverage resulting from the awards widely promoted the programs.

Further Information

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