Griffith researchers cast a wide net to learn from fishers

Research Fellow Carina Roemer with her catch of whiting

Researchers from Social Marketing @ Griffith, part of Griffith Business School, are about to embark on the second phase of a collaborative project looking to address low stocks of pearl perch and snapper.

The Fishers insights into alternative species survey is open until 8 November.

An online survey released in phase one of the project resulted in 234 responses covering 923 priorities.

Respondents included recreational fishers, charter boat operators, scientists and researchers, government, tackle equipment retailers, fishing club members, behaviour change professionals and fishing industry representatives.

Research Fellow Carina Roemer said stakeholders were asked to give up to five answers to the question, “What can fishers and interested parties do to help increase pearl perch and snapper stocks?”

“As a result of the survey, sixty-one people were involved in prioritising the responses and 14 stakeholders joined a workshop to further reduce the list to 13 priorities,” she said.

Local fisheries biologist Dr Sam Williams with a snapper (Chrysophrys auratus). Photo: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

“Some of the short-term ideas discussed included education around handling fish properly, especially recruitment stock when removing hooks to release and abiding by bag and size limits.

“Longer term initiatives included the introduction of recreational fishing licenses to capture data and fund further research for all Queensland fisheries, the consideration of timings for seasonal closures instead of closing snapper and pearl perch over one period, rolling closures up the coast so that northern waters closures comes in later to align with fish movements, currents and water temps, plus extra policing and inspections.

“A key idea that has since received wide stakeholder support is to promote alternate species of fish to encourage recreational fishing change.”

The project team is hoping to learn even more from Queensland fishers to encourage other fishers to change up their catch.

Responses to the Fishers insights into alternative species survey will assist with the delivery of a 2021 pilot project to help snapper and pearl perch stocks recover and encourage fishers to bag different fish.

The project is being carried out in collaboration with Currie Communications and is supported by funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) on behalf of the Australian Government.