Measuring the Adoption of Release Survival Strategies for Recreationally Caught Demersal Fish
The West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery (WCDSF) is a West Australian fishery which includes highly prized species accessed by recreational, charter and commercial sectors. Overfishing within this resource has occurred across many years and over the last decade management measures to promote recovery of the demersal fish stocks has been a priority. Recent stock assessments have revealed further management actions are required in order to safeguard the sustainability of species targeted within this fishery, which are still currently under too much pressure from fishing and the associated problem of post-catch mortality.
Post catch mortality is a significant issue within the WCDSF, with a high proportion of caught and released fish not surviving once returned to the ocean. Apart from the biology of many demersal species contributing to their lack of survival, other conditional factors influence how well individuals survive the catch and release process. Issues with barotrauma, improper handling, exposure from water, and hooking injuries, all contribute to the condition of released fish and many of these factors can be managed by the behaviours of the recreational fishers targeting these species. My project aims to understand the frequency of adoption of select behaviours which enhance post release survival of demersal fish in the recreational sector of the WCDSF. I will be investigating the drivers behind adoption of post-release survival strategies, including identifying key determinants for the uptake of select techniques. Promoting the adoption of healthy rec-fishing behaviours and proven strategies to enhance the survival of released demersal fish has the potential to improve the status of demersal fish resources, hence my research will hopefully contribute to the ongoing efforts to aid recovery in this fishery which is widely depended on by a number of groups.
Growing up in Busselton and living in the south-west I developed a love for fishing and the ocean. This enjoyment of both marine and freshwater environments led me to study Marine Biology and Conservation. In 2021, I completed my undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree at Murdoch University, and this year I am undertaking honours research at UWA. My interests are in fisheries – management, sustainability, and biology. I am hoping to gain research experience this year through my honours project which involves speaking with recreational fishers, as well as working alongside a number of people with advanced knowledge and expertise in the area of fisheries management and policy.
Dr. Matt Navarro (UWA), Sam Bock (Recfishwest), Dave Fairclough (DPIRD)
Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre
School of Biological Sciences (M470)
35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009