Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

Utilisation of creel surveys, boat ramp cameras and recruitment monitoring to inform the development of a harvest strategy for the Victorian recreational snapper fishery (#150)

Justin Bell 1 , Simon Conron 1
  1. Victorian Fisheries Authority, Queenscliff, VICTORIA, Australia

With the removal of most inshore commercial fisheries in Victoria, traditional monitoring and assessment approaches are no longer applicable for many key target species. This includes snapper, which represent Victoria’s most important marine target species for recreational fishers, particularly in Port Phillip Bay, with recreational snapper landings far exceeding commercial landings even before commercial buyout schemes.

Creel surveys have been used at various stages historically to investigate aspects of the snapper fishery and now form an ongoing monitoring regime as they inform targeting practices, catch rates, angler satisfaction and motivational factors. Coupled with broadscale recreational fishing effort monitoring using activity sensing cameras at boat ramps and recruitment monitoring, researchers are well placed to understand the fishing practices, fishing effort, landings, stock abundance and socio-economic factors that are influencing the recreational snapper fishery.

The above information is currently being utilised to form the basis of a recreational snapper fishery harvest strategy in Victoria, with the perception that performance indicators familiar to recreational fishers will be better able to be understood, and hence accepted rather than a more traditional population dynamic model based approach relating to spawning biomass and egg production. Performance indicators, such as current and forecast recreational catch rates, angler satisfaction and fishing effort measures are being explored with stakeholders for incorporation into the strategy, along with the stakeholder’s perception of how recreational fishers would like the fishery to perform into the future on behalf of the broader recreational fishing community.