Regular boat ramp surveys are now being conducted at 45 locations – including Tin Can Bay to provide the government with important data on recreational fishing.
“We are asking recreational fishers to spend a small amount of time at the end of their fishing trip to talk to one of our monitoring staff about their experience, as well as allow us to take some measurements of their catch,” said Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne.
“Each survey adds to our understanding of our fish stocks, the species being caught and the local fishing effort and will help us to improve the recreational fishing experience in our state.
“This data collection program is critical to understand the sustainability of Queensland’s fish stocks and protect the thousands of regional jobs that rely on fisheries resources”.
The Palaszczuk Government has committed $30 million over two years to construct or upgrade 70 boat ramps and floating walkways
Minister Byrne said an overwhelming majority of recreational fishers were happy to contribute to the voluntary monitoring program and no personal identification information was collected.
“The survey is about where fishers have been during their trip, how long they were fishing for, which species they were targeting and which they kept and released,” he said.
“The data from the surveys will also help us understand the benefits of the net free zones in Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton that were established by the Government in 2015.
“A report on the first 18 months’ results from the boat ramp surveys will be available later this year and will start to show what differences are evident following the establishment of the net free zones.
“We expect it will take a few years to see clear trends, as the areas have only been closed to netting for just over a year and there are natural variations due to seasons and weather that need to be taken into account, but the feedback is positive so far.”
To date, more than 14,000 boat crews have been interviewed across the state with 75 per cent undertaking recreational fishing and with an average fishing trip lasting 4.7 hours.
“We thank everyone who has taken the time to complete a survey up to now, and invite all recreational fishers, even those who have taken part before, to participate.
“As all recreational fishers know, no two fishing trips are the same!” Minister Byrne said.
Surveys are conducted five times per month, on weekdays and weekends, resulting in more than 900 hours of monitoring each month.
Ten minutes of a recreational fisher’s time at the end of a fishing trip is all that it will take to make a contribution to the effort.