Publication Date


Series Number



Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development


Perth, Western Australia






The integrated surveys of boat-based recreational fishing include three components: (i) off-site Phone Surveys (encompassing an initial Screening Survey, a longitudinal Phone-Diary Survey, and Post-Enumeration Surveys); (ii) on-site Boat Ramp Surveys; and (iii) Remote Camera Surveys. The main data collection period from September 2020 to August 2021 (inclusive) provides comparisons with previous surveys in 2017/18 (September 2017 to August 2018), 2015/16 (September 2015 to August 2016), 2013/14 (May 2013 to April 2014) and 2011/12 (March 2011 to February 2012). A total of 3,044 fishers completed the Phone-Diary Survey with 206,230 individual fish (including invertebrates) caught (kept or released) by fishers who participated in the survey. Fishing activity reported during the survey included 12,723 boat days, 13,808 fishing events and 37,475 fishing hours, across every day of the survey year and the majority of the State’s coastline. Additionally, 5,398 fishers were interviewed in the Boat Ramp Surveys with 13,221 individual fish (or invertebrates) measured. A diverse range of species/taxa were caught, including scalefish (209 species/taxa), elasmobranchs (20), crustaceans (7) and molluscs (6). A total of 3.02 million individual fish (including invertebrates) were caught from boat-based recreational fishing in 2020/21. A similar proportion of the catch was either kept (1.66 million or 55%) or released (1.36 million or 45%). Approximately half of the total catch were finfish (1.64 million scalefish or elasmobranchs; 54%) in comparison to invertebrates (1.38 million crustaceans or molluscs; 48%). The proportion of finfish released (58%) was similar to the proportion of invertebrates released (42%). School Whiting (Sillago bassensis, S. vittata and S. schomburgkii) were the most commonly caught finfish species statewide (320,029 kept or released by number, or 19% of the finfish catch), followed by Australian Herring (Arripis georgianus; 190,206 or 12%), Pink Snapper (Chrysophrys auratus; 136,268 or 8%), King George Whiting (Sillaginodes punctatus; 91,636 or 6%), Black Bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri; 61,500 or 4%), Grass Emperor (Lethrinus laticaudis; 58,256 or 4%), Silver Trevally (Pseudocaranx spp. complex; 55,109 or 3%), West Australian Dhufish (Glaucosoma hebraicum; 43,510 or 3%), Western King Wrasse (Coris auricularis; 40,587 or 2%), Chinaman Rockcod (Epinephelus rivulatus; 35,712 or 2%), Western Butterfish (Pentapodus vitta; 35,447 or 2%) and Baldchin Groper (Choerodon rubescens; 30,998 or 2%). High release rates were observed for many of these species, including Black Bream (83%), Western King Wrasse (80%), Pink Snapper (76%), Western Butterfish (75%), Grass Emperor (66%), Chinaman Rockcod (56%) and West Australian Dhufish (50%). Release rates were lower for Silver Trevally (37%), Baldchin Groper (35%), King George Whiting (27%), Australian Herring (21%) and School Whiting (18%). Western Rock Lobster (Panulirus cygnus) was the most commonly caught invertebrate statewide (662,583 kept or released by number, or 48% of the invertebrate catch), Fisheries Research Report [Western Australia] No. 327 | Page x followed by Blue Swimmer Crab (Portunus armatus; 571,240 or 41%), Squid (Order Teuthoidea; 104,478 or 8%). High release rates were observed for Blue Swimmer Crab (65%) compared with Western Rock Lobster (28%) and Squid (5%). These estimates exclude catches from boat-based recreational fishers that only held a Rock Lobster licence and shore-based recreational fishers. At a statewide level, boat-based recreational fishing catches were generally consistent across the five surveys. At a resource level, comparisons can be made for the aggregated harvest (kept catch by weight) and the harvest range (95% confidence intervals of the kept catch by weight) of the top 10 or 15 species in each resource.

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