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Spatial distribution, seasonal variability and zoning compliance of recreational fishing in the Ningaloo Marine Park, north-western Australia

Smallwood, C.B. and Beckley, L.E. (2010) Spatial distribution, seasonal variability and zoning compliance of recreational fishing in the Ningaloo Marine Park, north-western Australia. In: AMSA2010 New Waves in Marine Science, 4 - 8 July, Wollongong, New South Wales.

Abstract

Extractive activities, including recreational fishing, are permitted in many multiple-use marine protected areas and, to ensure a balance with biodiversity conservation, sanctuary (no-take) zones are often designated as areas where such activities are not permitted. However, quantitative spatial and temporal data on extractive activities to ascertain level of compliance with such zoning measures is rarely collected. Integrated aerial and land-based surveys were conducted from January - December 2007 to identify fine-scale patterns of recreational use and quantify zoning compliance in the Ningaloo Marine Park, north-western Australia. Extractive activities comprised ~12% of overall park use observed from boats and the shore, although activity type could not be determined for >27% of boats. Recreational line fishing was the dominant extractive activity and occurred in higher densities, and with wider spatial distribution, in autumn and winter. Clustering around infrastructure (e.g. boat launching locations, beach access points) was also evident. Non-compliance with zoning by recreational fishing vessels was 12%, and increased to 20% if all vessels for which an activity type could not be determined were deemed to be fishing; a realistic scenario. Interviews with recreational fishers along the shore found overall catch per unit effort was low (<1 fish/person/hour) and spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus) was the most commonly caught species. Respondents displayed a high level of knowledge about the location of sanctuary zones and the majority stated that these had not affected their fishing activity. The findings of this study has benefits for the management of marine protected areas by providing integrated methods for collecting fine-scale data on extractive recreational activities to quantify compliance with zoning, focus resources at specific sites and monitor changes in their spatial distribution and seasonal variability.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Notes: oral presentation
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/3917
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