Fisheries Research Articles

Are charter and private-boat recreational fishers learning to live with shark depredation?

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

Marine Policy


Print: 0308-597X Electronic: 1872-9460


fisheries policy, fisheries management, mitigation, fisher heterogeneity, survey sampling, online survey, telephone survey


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Marine Biology


The loss of hooked fish from shark depredation has become an increasing problem in marine recreational fisheries worldwide, particularly among charter and private-boat recreational fishers. There is growing need to understand the prevalence of shark encounters, where depredation occurs and how recreational fishers respond to and mitigate depredation. This study of 1340 charter and private-boat recreational fishers in north-western Australia, included both probability-based (telephone and online) and opt-in (online) survey methods and is the first to document mitigation methods used by recreational fishers. More than half of the respondents (728) who completed the survey indicated that they had attempted to mitigate depredation. In the probability-based survey, the main mitigation methods reported by charter and private-boat fishers were to move spots, use wire trace or stop fishing. Depredation evokes strong opinions from some sections of the fishing population. Although more avid fishers self-selected for the opt-in surveys, the inclusion of information from these respondents, particularly from open-ended questions, provided detailed information on attitudes among fishers where this issue is of concern. This study highlights the wide range of views and concerns regarding depredation, all of which need to be considered when developing policies and guidelines around this issue. As with other contentious issues where changes in fishing behaviour are required, decision-makers will need to devise strategies to inform and educate the fishing public in how to mitigate against depredation.