Publication Date


Series Number

Fisheries Research Report 315


Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development






Recreational fishing is a popular activity in Western Australia, occurring throughout the state from private and charter boats, and from a variety of natural and man-made structures along the shore. Ongoing monitoring of the shore-based recreational fishery is essential to assist with monitoring, management evaluation and stock assessments for nearshore species. Especially for species such as Australian Herring and Southern Garfish who were the focus of recent management changes in 2015 (reduction of bag limit from 30 to 12) and 2017 (closure of Perth Metropolitan waters), respectively. An on-site roving creel survey to collect effort and catch data from shore fishers has been conducted annually from February – June in the Perth Metropolitan area since 2014. Estimates of fishing effort, catch rate and total catch have been calculated and compared to a 2010 ‘pilot’ survey. Total length and catch-per-fisher for key species retained by shore fishers are compared with distributions from boat fishers using additional data from concurrent phone-diary and boat ramp surveys. Estimated fishing effort for shore fishers in the Perth Metropolitan area in 2021 was 110,979 fisher hours (95%CI 81,951 – 140,007). This was lower when compared to 2020 (134,578 – 202,195) (although not a significant difference as confidence intervals overlapped) but steady when compared to 2010 (100,771 – 156,926). Fishing effort in both these years was lower than the peak in 2016 (194,926 – 382,931). The estimated retained catch (in numbers) was 104,338 (95%CI 75,780 – 132,895) in 2021, of which an additional 104,405 (67,735 – 141,074) was released. When compared to 2020, retained (77,632 – 197,011) and released (28,068 – 87,185) catch were steady. However, retained catch in 2021 was lower than in 2010, 2014 and 2017 while released catch was steady across all years. However, the proportion of released catch increased from 17% (2010) to 50% (2021) of the total catch. More than 50% of fishing parties had caught or released a fish of any species in all survey years, with a high of 74% in 2021. Collectively, the five key species of Australian Herring, Whiting spp. (Family Sillaginidae), Tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix), Western Australian Salmon (Arripis truttaceus) and Pink Snapper (Chrysophrys auratus) were targeted by >40% of shore fishers and comprised >70% of the retained catch in any survey year. Australian Herring was the most commonly retained species in all years with an estimated retained catch of 9 t (95%CI 5 – 13 t) in 2021, which was lower than in 2010, 2014 and 2017. The release rate across all survey years varied from 5 – 12%. The harvest rate (mean ± SE) for this species was 0.76 ± 0.05 fish per fisher day, which was significantly lower in 2010, but remained steady with no significant difference from 2017 to 2021. Whiting spp. was the second-most commonly retained species with an estimated retained catch of 1 t (95%CI 0 – 1 t) in 2021, which has been steady since 2014. The release rate across all survey years varied from 7 – 23% across. The harvest rate Fisheries Research Report [Western Australia] No. 315 | Page 6 (mean ± SE) for this species in 2021 was 0.38 ± 0.04, which was significantly lower than 2010, but not significantly different compared to all other years. The Southern Garfish retained catch was zero in 2021, and has been negligible (< 1 t) since 2014. The retained catch of Tailor, Western Australian Salmon and Pink Snapper have been negligible across all survey years, with the exception of the Western Australian Salmon retained catch between 2015 – 2017, which also saw a corresponding increase in targeting for this species during this time (up to 25%). Although up to 15% of shore fishers targeted Pink Snapper, the majority of catches were released (95 – 99%).

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Western Australia, Recreational fishing, Perth Metropolitan area