Fisheries Research Articles

Concurrent Western Australian telephone surveys highlight the advantages of sampling from a registry of recreational fishers

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

ICES Journal of Marine Science


Print: 1054-3139 Electronic: 1095-9289


bias, fishing registry, non-response, stratified random sampling


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Marine Biology


Surveys play an integral role in providing reliable recreational fishing information for the sustainable management of fisheries resources. The selection of a representative sample is an important and often challenging part of designing surveys. Here we compare concurrent telephone surveys conducted in 2016 and 2017 using a telephone directory (White Pages®, WP) and a Recreational Boat Fishing Licence (RBFL) as sampling frames. Information on boat- and shore-based recreational fishing was collected from both surveys. The response rates for the RBFL surveys were more than double those from the WP surveys. The RBFL surveys identified more respondents who had recreationally fished in the previous 12 months compared to the WP surveys. Fishing activity differed markedly between fishers in the WP and RBFL surveys; however, characteristics were consistent for boat-based fishers sampled from the two types of surveys. The high levels of sample loss observed in the WP surveys suggest that other general population lists may provide greater coverage of shore-based fishers. We recommend testing the demographic and behavioural characteristics of recreational fishers sampled in offsite surveys against benchmark data to assist in assessing whether or not the characteristics of the sample are representative of the target population.