Fisheries Research Articles

Scale and context dependent selection of recreational harvest estimation methods: the Australasian experience

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

North American Journal of Fisheries Management


Print: 0275-5947 Electronic: 1548-8675


on-site survey, off-site survey, phone-diary, screening survey, access survey, roving survey, bus-route survey


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Marine Biology


Fisheries managers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to quantify all forms of harvest, including that by recreational fishers. This need has been driven by both a growing recognition of the potential impact that noncommercial fishers can have on exploited resources and the requirement to allocate catch limits between different sectors of the wider fishing community in many jurisdictions. Marine recreational fishers are rarely required to report any of their activity, and some form of survey technique is usually required to estimate levels of recreational catch and effort. In this review, we describe and discuss studies that have attempted to estimate the nature and extent of recreational harvests of marine fishes in New Zealand and Australia over the past 20 years. We compare studies by method to show how circumstances dictate their application and to highlight recent developments that other researchers may find of use. Although there has been some convergence of approach, we suggest that context is an important consideration, and many of the techniques discussed here have been adapted to suit local conditions and to address recognized sources of bias. Much of this experience, along with novel improvements to existing approaches, have been reported only in “gray” literature because of an emphasis on providing estimates for immediate management purposes. This paper brings much of that work together for the first time, and we discuss how others might benefit from our experience.