Fisheries Research Articles

Long-term monitoring of boat-based recreational fishing in Shark Bay, Western Australia: providing scientific advice for sustainable management in a World Heritage Area

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

Marine and Freshwater Research


Print: 1323-1650 Electronic: 1448-6059


catch and release, creel survey, onsite survey


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Marine Biology


Effective management of a recreational fishery must include long-term monitoring programs that allow determination of trends in temporal and spatial variability of catch and effort data. Such monitoring becomes of inherently greater importance when managing a recreational fishery in a World Heritage Area, such as Shark Bay, Western Australia. Between 1998 and 2010, 11 12-month bus-route surveys of boat-based recreational fishing were undertaken at three key boat ramps in Shark Bay. These surveys demonstrated that, in response to the progressive implementation of new management measures, the estimated annual recreational fishing-boat effort decreased by 46%. As a consequence, the estimated annual retained and released catches of the key species, pink snapper (Pagrus auratus), declined and the proportions of the catches of this species that were released each year increased. Annual catches of other species also declined, however, the composition of species retained and released each year varied. The study demonstrated that monitoring of the recreational fishery within Shark Bay provided both immediate and longer-term data on the responses by recreational fishers to changes in management. This produced the information necessary to assess the effectiveness of management measures that were introduced and to modify these as required.



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)