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

Smallwood, C.B. and Beckley, L.E. (2012) Spatial distribution and zoning compliance of recreational fishing in Ningaloo Marine Park, north-western Australia. Fisheries Research, 125-126 . pp. 40-50.

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Recreational fishing is often permitted in multiple-use marine parks and, to ensure a balance with biodiversity conservation, sanctuary (no-take) zones are frequently demarcated. However, compliance with such measures is rarely quantified. Aerial and land-based coastal observation surveys were conducted within Ningaloo Marine Park, north-western Australia, with the aim of identifying the spatio-temporal distribution of recreational fishing as well as quantifying participation and zoning compliance. During aerial and coastal surveys, a recreational activity type was identified for 73% and 65% of observed vessels, respectively. About 16-17% of vessels were identified as being engaged in recreational fishing and, of these, 8-12% were observed while fishing in sanctuary zones. For people undertaking shore-based recreation, identification of activity type increased to 97% for aerial surveys and 100% for coastal surveys. Participation in shore-based recreational fishing was 9% for both survey methods and 2-4% of these fishers were observed in sanctuary zones. Peak visitor months (April-October) had a wider spatial distribution and higher density of shore and vessel-based fishers. Interviews with recreational fishers enabled collection of data about knowledge of zoning, and compliance with bag and size limits. For repeat visitors, 87% could correctly identify the location of the nearest sanctuary zone; for first time visitors this dropped to 52%. About 75% of both visitor types stated that these zones had not affected their fishing activity. No fishers had reached their bag limit and only two undersized fish were recorded in the examined catches. The multi-faceted survey approach revealed that aerial and coastal surveys produced similar data on non-compliance. Such data can be used to develop site-specific enforcement and education activities as well as providing support for planning and management of marine parks.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
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