Charlotte Aston

Managing Recreational Fishing in World Heritage Areas: Investigating biodiversity monitoring and socioeconomic components of recreational fisheries management

The management of World Heritage Areas (WHAs) must balance protection and conservation with the popularity of these unique natural and cultural sites for tourism, which can sometimes be in opposition to one another. In Western Australia (WA) Shark Bay and the Ningaloo coastline WHAs experience high rates of tourist visitation, attracting over 100,000 visitors each year and putting significant pressure on the marine ecosystems. In particular, recreational fishing is one of the most popular activities, and despite sustainable management of recreational fishing being a management goal in both WHAs, there is evidence that fish populations are being impacted. My project aims to address two key aspects of managing recreational fishing in WHAs; monitoring of fish biodiversity in order to generate consistent, long term datasets and, exploring the impacts of management options on recreational fishers through the use of a bio-economic model. I will be using a novel stereo-camera system with the capability to collect data across a range of depths from inside and outside no-take zones in marine parks, and comparing this to existing methods to determine if this new method can be used to optimise fish biodiversity monitoring. I will also be combining socioeconomic data with a model of fish populations in WA’s marine WHAs to create a bioeconomic model. This will allow us to explore how potential future changes in management will affect the welfare of recreational fishers and fish populations. The overall aim is to contribute towards the optimisation of the management of WAs outstanding natural heritage.

About Me

Originally from London, born to Swedish and English parents, spending time in the ocean was something I only really got to do on holiday. After coming to UWA in 2017 intending only to stay for my year abroad, I fell in love with marine environment, and I transferred university. I graduated from UWA with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Marine Biology in 2018 and a Masters in Marine Science in 2019. My Masters research focused on the Ningaloo Marine Park and I’m really excited to be continuing my research in WA’s incredible World Heritage Areas. I’m hoping my PhD will be able to contribute to the long-term protection of these unique areas and teach me interdisciplinary skills I can use to contribute improving the conservation of our marine environments into the future


Dr. Tim Langlois, Dr. Matt Navarro & Professor Gary Kendrick


Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre
School of Biological Sciences (M470)
35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009