Fishing is an important recreational activity for many Australians, with one in every four people participating every year. There are however many different pressures exerted on Australian fish stocks, including climate-related changes that drive changes in local fish abundances. It is inevitable that recreational fishers will need to adapt to these changes. When resource abundance alters substantially, user adaptation to the new situation is required and policies and incentives may need to be developed to encourage behaviour change. It is important to correctly anticipate fisher's response to these policies and incentives as much as possible. Improved understanding of recreational fisher's likely adaptation decisions and the nature and timing of these decisions can help avoid unintended consequences of management decisions. Based on a survey of recreational fishers in the south-east Australian climate hotspot, we identify 4 relevant dimensions to recreational fisher's behavioural adaptation. There are differences in adaptation timing (early, late, and non-adaptors). Non-adaptors are characterised by greater cultural attachment to fishing and stronger perceptions of the factors that influence abundance change. The fisher's preferred adaptation responses and the timing of the behavioural response differs between decreasing versus increasing fish abundance. Insight into perspectives and expectations on how recreational fishers might adapt to changes is useful to develop a set of behavioural incentives that appeal to different groups but remain efficient and effective in their implementation. Such knowledge can create new pathways to achieve meaningful and targeted adaptation responses for different types of recreational fishers.
Effective conservation depends upon people's compliance with regulations, yet non-compliance (eg poaching) is often the rule rather than the exception. Poaching is often clandestine and socially undesirable, requiring specialized, multidisciplinary approaches for assessment and management. We estimated poaching by recreational fishers in no-fishing reserves of Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) by conducting social surveys and quantifying derelict (lost or discarded) fishing gear. Our study revealed that (1) between 3–18% of fishers admitted to poaching within the past year, (2) poaching activities were often concentrated at certain times (holidays) and in specific places (poaching hotspots), and (3) fishers’ primary motivations to poach were the perception of higher catches in reserves and a low probability of detection. Our results suggest that extolling certain ecological benefits of marine reserves where enforcement capacity is low could lead to the perverse outcome of encouraging non-compliance. Our combined social–ecological approach revealed that even in an iconic marine park such as the GBRMP, poaching levels are higher than previously assumed, which has implications for effective management.
- Marine conservation areas require high levels of compliance to meet conservation objectives, yet little research has assessed compliance quantitatively, especially for recreational fishers. Recreational fishers take 12% of global annual fish catches. With millions of people fishing from small boats, this fishing sector is hard to monitor, making accurate quantification of non-compliance an urgent research priority.
- Shore-based remote camera monitoring was tested for quantifying recreational non-compliance in near-shore, coastal rockfish conservation areas (RCAs) in the Salish Sea, Canada.
- Six high definition trail cameras were used to monitor 42 locations between July and August 2014.
- Seventy-nine percent of monitored conservation area sites showed confirmed or probable fishing activity, with no significant difference in fishing effort inside and outside RCAs.
- Mixed effects generalized linear models were used to test environmental and geographic factors influencing compliance. Sites with greater depth had significantly higher fishing effort, which may imply high, barotrauma-induced, rockfish mortality in RCA sites.
- Non-compliance estimates were similar to aerial fly-over compliance data from 2011, suggesting that trail camera monitoring may be an accurate and affordable alternative method of assessing non-compliance in coastal conservation areas, especially for community-based organizations wishing to monitor local waters.
- Widespread non-compliance could compromise the ability of RCAs to protect and rebuild rockfish populations. Increased education, signage, and enforcement is likely to improve compliance.
Although some stocks are being severely exploited by recreational fishing, estimating the biomass extracted (harvest, H) by recreational fisheries is difficult, especially for marine recreational fisheries. One way to estimate H by recreational fisheries is to combine the fishing effort (E) with catch-per-unit-of-effort (CPUE) data. However, naively ignoring heterogeneity in E and CPUE may result in biased and imprecise estimates of H. We propose a framework to address three relevant heterogeneity levels: the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of recreational E, environmental effects on recreational CPUE, and the variability in angler skills (between-angler heterogeneity). Specifically, we combine (i) space-time model predictions of E (number of boats per km2) on the day scale (i.e., fishing trips), (ii) environmentally driven model predictions of daily catch (number of squid per fishing trip), and (iii) off- and on-site surveys to account for angler heterogeneity. The precision of the H estimates was assessed using bootstrap confidence intervals. This framework was applied to the recreational fishery for the squid Loligo vulgaris at Palma Bay (Mallorca Island, western Mediterranean). The estimated effort was 15,750 angler-fishing trips (95% CI: 13,086 to 18,569), which yielded an annual harvest of 20.6 tons (95% CI: 16.9–24.5). This harvest was estimated to represent 34% of the total commercial landings in Mallorca, which highlights the importance of recreational harvesting and the need to account for recreational fisheries to improve squid stock management. The framework proposed here provides a promising tool for estimating H in other heterogeneous recreational fisheries and may be the first step toward assessing the actual impact of recreational fisheries on squid populations.
Although current assessments of shark population trends involve both fishery-independent and fishery-dependent data, the latter are generally limited to commercial landings that may neglect nearshore coastal habitats. Texas has supported the longest organized land-based recreational shark fishery in the United States, yet no studies have used this “non-traditional” data source to characterize the catch composition or trends in this multidecadal fishery. We analyzed catch records from two distinct periods straddling heavy commercial exploitation of sharks in the Gulf of Mexico (historical period = 1973–1986; modern period = 2008–2015) to highlight and make available the current status and historical trends in Texas’ land-based shark fishery. Catch records describing large coastal species (>1,800 mm stretched total length [STL]) were examined using multivariate techniques to assess catch seasonality and potential temporal shifts in species composition. These fishery-dependent data revealed consistent seasonality that was independent of the data set examined, although distinct shark assemblages were evident between the two periods. Similarity percentage analysis suggested decreased contributions of Lemon Shark Negaprion brevirostris over time and a general shift toward the dominance of Bull Shark Carcharhinus leucas and Blacktip Shark C. limbatus. Comparisons of mean STL for species captured in historical and modern periods further identified significant decreases for both Bull Sharks and Lemon Sharks. Size structure analysis showed a distinct paucity of landed individuals over 2,000 mm STL in recent years. Although inherent biases in reporting and potential gear-related inconsistencies undoubtedly influenced this fishery-dependent data set, the patterns in our findings documented potential declines in the size and occurrence of select large coastal shark species off Texas, consistent with declines reported in the Gulf of Mexico. Future management efforts should consider the use of non-traditional fishery-dependent data sources, such as land-based records, as data streams in stock assessments.
Designed artificial reefs (ARs) are deployed for various purposes including the enhancement of recreational fisheries. The ability to assess recreational harvest is important for determining the effectiveness of AR deployments. Harvest estimation at AR fisheries pose many logistical and budgetary challenges. We present a pragmatic approach to estimate harvest at an AR off coastal Sydney, Australia, that combines existing datasets and a cost-effective sampling design from two different time periods. Fishing effort data collected from June 2013 to May 2014 were derived directly from digital images of the AR and were validated by direct observation. Multiple datasets were then integrated to obtain a list of taxa that are harvested by recreational fishers within the AR area. Data from a series of probability-based surveys conducted prior to the deployment of the AR from March 2007 to February 2009 were used to obtain estimates of harvest rates for these taxa. Harvest at the reef was estimated by multiplying fishing effort and these harvest rates together. Total annual recreational harvest from the AR during June 2013–May 2014 was estimated to be 1016 ± 82 fish by number, 700 ± 59 kg of fish by weight, and 12,504 kg per km2. Standardized harvest at the Sydney AR was relatively high (2.3–43.6 times larger) compared to other fishery areas from which the fishable area is known. Harvest at the AR was dominated by 6 functional groups (ambush predators, leatherjackets, large to medium pelagic fish, small pelagic fish, medium demersal predators and large demersal predators), which accounted for 92% of the total annual harvest by number, and 95% of the total annual harvest by weight. Comparisons of standardized harvest between the Sydney AR and other fishery areas revealed two distinct groups, a) the AR and Swansea channel, a marine-dominated entrance to a large estuary, and b) all other fishery areas. The use of existing datasets from a previous time period to represent current conditions in a fishery can be subject to potential bias since harvest composition and harvest rates were calculated using data collected prior to the implementation of the AR. However, this pragmatic approach may be the only viable option when the implementation of probability-based survey methods is logistically complex and prohibitively costly.
Future studies attempting to estimate harvest at small, discrete AR fisheries located near large population centers should therefore consider an integrated methodology that combines existing datasets and cost-effective sampling designs.
Resource conflict is a common feature of coastal management. This conflict is often managed by using spatial planning tools to segregate uses, with access decisions made through a comparison of the economic costs and benefits of the competing sectors. These comparisons rarely include an in-depth analysis of the extent or nature of the conflict. One commonly experienced form of resource conflict in coastal communities involves professional fishing, recreational fishing and broader coastal tourism. In New South Wales, Australia the professional fishing industry is often seen as being in conflict with recreational fishing and tourism, and there are frequent calls to close areas to professional fishing, arguing that this will provide improved economic benefits to local communities. This research examined the relationships between the three sectors using economic valuations, qualitative interviews and a large-scale representative questionnaire of the general public. The results revealed highly interconnected and mutually supportive relationships, with professional fishing providing a range of services that benefit both tourism and recreational fishing. These results suggest that spatial management exercises that seek to segregate or remove one sector from an area, may be counterproductive to the interests of all these groups. Relying on economic valuations of each sector as if they stand alone is insufficient to adequately understand their roles in local communities. Resource allocation decisions should be based on evaluations that consider the interconnections between sectors, and consider whether negotiated sharing of resources may provide greater community benefits than excluding certain groups of users.
The manual is intended to help countries within the wider Caribbean Region better understand the size and contributions from recreation fishing to their economies. The methods proposed within can be applied to other countries outside this region, too. The results are meant to explain the economic impacts at the national and regional level, not to the individual. Measures of recreational fishing’s impacts upon individuals are a valid concern, and may represent a second or separate effort on the part of the countries using this document. The manual was tested in Bahamas and Martinique and the resulst of these tests are included in the circular.
The study carries out a comparison of the value estimated both in recreational and commercial fisheries for billfish in the Caribbean. The recreational value was found to be much higher than the value in the commercial sector but total estimates should be treayed with caution due to the uncertainty of the raw data available. Enough value exists in the recreational fisheries sector to compensate losses in commercial sector. Billfish commercial fishery responsible for much less than 1% of total Caribbean seafood value (between 0.36% and 0.84%). Most recreationally caught billfish released with high survival. In general, there is a need for better data regarding landings, effort, supply chain in both sectors.
Recreational fishing mortality can have a major impact on coastal fish populations, bringing recreational fishers into conflict with commercial fisheries. This article reviews exclusion zones for commercial fishing, or ‘recreational fishing areas’ as a solution to the conflict between commercial and recreational fisheries. Recently designated recreational fishing areas in the state of Queensland, Australia are examined as a case-study. The goal of recreational fishing areas is to enhance recreational fishing and provide economic opportunities through charter fishing. However, recently designated recreational fishing areas in Queensland have not been thoroughly assessed for their social, economic and environmental impacts and they are not integrated within existing management frameworks for fisheries. The designation of recreational fishing areas is thus a shift away from evidence-based management in Queensland's fisheries and has likely occurred solely for political reasons – there are more voters in the recreational fishery than commercial fishery. In Queensland, excluding commercial fishing on its own is unlikely to result in long-term benefits to recreational fisheries because recreational harvest is a major component of fish harvest for some key species and there is no legislated limit to recreational harvest. Current political attention on recreational fishing areas provides an opportunity for fisheries managers, politicians, conservation groups and the public to discuss what is needed to manage sustainable coastal fisheries. In particular, recreational fishing areas need to be combined with efforts to enhance stewardship among recreational fishers if they are to be successful in the long-term.