The Angler in the Environment: Social, Economic, Biological, and Ethical Dimensions

Fishing for Today and Tomorrow: Recreational Fisheries Monitoring in Queensland, Australia

Leonard J. H. Olyott, Edward Jebreen, Jonathan Staunton Smith, and Stephen Taylor


Abstract.—In Queensland, Australia, approximately 700,000 recreational anglers catch almost 50 million fish, crabs, and prawns each year. Recreational fishing information has been regularly collected since 1996 through a combined telephone survey and volunteer diary program. Separately, biological data for key species has been collected since 1999.

With the Queensland government’s commitment to sustainability and the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, there was a need to improve the quality of data collected. To obtain better estimates of localized catch and effort, Fisheries Queensland (part of the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation) trialed a creel survey using the bus-route method in coastal southeast Queensland. Simultaneously, a statewide diary program was underway. Another recent initiative allows recreational fishers and charter boat operators to contribute samples for obtaining length and age data. Through the direct involvement of fishers in these data collection programs, it was hoped that greater support for sustainable management arrangements could be achieved. An effective recreational fishing survey program relies on good survey design, a pertinent communication strategy, the development of a survey identity or brand, sound statistical analysis, and appropriate interpretation and implementation of recommendations.

In the 12 months of operation of the integrated monitoring program, 950 people signed up for the recreational fishing diary program using printed, e-mail, or online versions of the diary. Well over 100 anglers joined the Keen Angler Program. A total of 6,533 ramp surveys were completed, 7,657 boats crews were interviewed of which 4,559 (60%) were fishing, and 3,933 fish were measured.