Fisheries Research Articles

Expanding roving-aerial surveys to include counts of recreational shore fishers from remotely-operated cameras: benefits, limitations and cost-effectiveness

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

North American Journal of Fisheries Management




shore-based recreational fishing, nearshore fish stocks, catch and effort, aerial–roving survey, nighttime fishing


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Marine Biology


Information on shore-based recreational fishing is essential for the sustainable management of nearshore fish stocks. However, obtaining estimates of catch and effort from such fishing activity can be complex and expensive due to the large spatial scales over which surveys are typically conducted and the fine-scale temporal resolution that is desired. Complementary surveys are one option for improving the accuracy of estimates. A pilot study was conducted in Perth, Western Australia, from April to June 2010 to test an expanded aerial–roving survey design that incorporated remotely operated cameras. Cameras recorded the distribution of shore-based fishing activity across a 24-h day, highlighting an afternoon peak as well as some nighttime activity, which is rarely captured in existing survey designs. This information was combined with instantaneous counts of shore fishers from aerial surveys and trip length data that were obtained from 1,194 incomplete trip interviews conducted during roving creel surveys; the resulting estimate of fishing effort was 213,460 angler-hours (SE = 18,141; relative SE [RSE] = 8%). Catch rates, which were calculated from roving creel survey data on the numbers of retained fish, were combined with fishing effort to estimate a total retained catch of 355,801 fish (SE = 41,446; RSE = 12%). The Australian herring Arripis georgianus was the dominant species, with a retained catch of 229,779 fish (SE = 39,007; RSE = 17%). In comparison with other on-site techniques, the incorporation of cameras into an aerial–roving survey design provides a generic, cost-effective method for measuring the distribution of shore-based fishing activity across a 24-h day. Our findings improve the understanding of the exploitation of nearshore fish stocks along the Perth coast. Our method has broad application to many other recreational fisheries around the world, especially where nighttime fishing is popular.