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Recreational boating and fishing in the Blackwood estuary, a candidate conservation area in south-western Australia

Prior, S.P. and Beckley, L.E. (2006) Recreational boating and fishing in the Blackwood estuary, a candidate conservation area in south-western Australia. In: Australian Marine Science Association Conference, 9 - 13 July, Cairns, Australia.


The Blackwood Estuary in south-western Australia is a popular holiday destination designated to be included in the proposed ‘Capes’ Marine Park. During 2005, four seasonal sampling trips were undertaken to determine the spatial and temporal distribution of recreational boating and fishing in the estuary. In addition, recreational anglers were interviewed to ascertain their catches, demographics, socioeconomics, frequency and locations of fishing and attitudes to conservation and fisheries management. There was marked seasonality in recreational use of the estuary, with high numbers of boats encountered over summer and autumn. Boats with anglers actively engaged in fishing constituted 30% of the 958 vessels recorded and some spatial patterns related to boat launching sites were apparent. Most anglers were visiting tourists from towns in south-western Australia and, although half of the angling parties were family groups, most respondents were 31-45 year-old males with relaxation their primary motive for fishing. Tradepersons, professionals and retired farmers were common occupations amongst interviewed anglers. Cumulative expenditure on bait, tackle and capital equipment was considerable. Local residents and extended-stay caravanners who reside in Augusta over the summer months fished more frequently than short-stay visitors. Catches were dominated by yellow-finned whiting, Sillago schomburgkii, and Australian herring, Arripis georgiana. Support for biodiversity conservation measures and fisheries management regulations was high, but non-compliance with size limits was common, apparently due to species misidentification of juvenile fish by visiting anglers.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
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