RecFishing Visions – Understanding Recreational Fishing Communities

Project Plan

We’re casting out a wide net to collect recreational fishers’ views about how you would like to see our local waters managed. Fishers of all levels and abilities are encouraged to take part in a 15 minute survey .

RecFishing-Visions-Image1-webWhy are we interested?

When it comes to looking after our marine environment, local authorities must consider a wide variety of conflicting uses within the same area. Local communities rely on local waters for physical exercise or enjoyment, while industry supports a new marina or port developments. Scuba divers or snorkelers seeking to observe pristine conditions conflict with oil and gas operations searching for resources to develop. The commercial fishing fleet supplies fresh fish to local communities, while recreational fishers may target the same species for fun. Authorities have the difficult role of balancing the demands of all these stakeholder groups when making decisions on how to best manage the marine environment and its resources to benefit all.

RecFishing-Visions-Logo-webRecreational fishing is one of West Australian’s most popular pastimes, with over 700,000 of us estimated to wet a line each year. It is therefore important to understand that there is great diversity within a stakeholder group of this size, and recognise that experiences and aspirations vary greatly within recreational fishing communities.

When implementing policy changes, local authorities must consider and balance what is in the best interests of all of those impacted by these decisions. The RecFishing Visions research project aims to improve our understanding of all the different types of people who enjoy fishing in Western Australia and how they would like to see the environment managed.



Photos supplied courtesy of Northbound Charters.

Your Support

WESTERN-ROCK-LOBSTER-Credit-Gerard-McNeill-webWe are looking for individuals who have been fishing for fun in Western Australia sometime in the last 12 months. It doesn’t matter if you have been fishing once or go out every weekend, we are interested in input from all different types of recreational fishers.

We have created a 15 minute survey asking you about how and why you go fishing, along with your thoughts on a variety of tools used to manage marine activities including fishing.

By participating in this research you are helping us better understand how and why West Australians go fishing, and which types of management options are preferred by recfishing communities. This information can be used to inform local authorities about what’s important to different community members and assist in developing better policy for fishing communities. Balanced, fair and appropriate policy decisions can assist us in managing the environment so we can enjoy our resources today, as well as conserve them for future generations.

About Me

ASHA-BARRA-Credit-Northbound-Charters-webMy name is Asha McNeill and I’m a PhD candidate with the School of Agriculture and Environment at UWA. I’m undertaking this study as part of the broader research I’m conducting on the impact of fisheries and marine conservation policy on local communities in WA, having previously focused on commercial fisheries management and marine parks. This research will form the basis of my thesis to be submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Growing up in Perth almost guarantees a love of the ocean, considering the amazing watery playground we have on our doorstep. I completed my bachelor degree in Science in 2007 at UWA with majors in Marine Biology and Marine & Coastal Management, and applied statistical modelling to predict fish distribution for my honours thesis.

TOUR-GUIDE-Credit-Gerard-McNeill-webDuring a long period spent travelling, I was lucky enough to spend a year working as a Naturalist Guide on a tiny coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef, Heron Island. It was during this time that I realised a better understanding of how people value and use our marine environment was required, to allow us to create a healthy future for ecosystems and communities. I’m interested in studying how people have been affected by marine policy with the aim to work towards more equitable and effective management of the marine environment and its resources.

My supervisor for the research is Dr Julian Clifton, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia with over fifteen years’ experience in analysis of marine conservation policy worldwide. I’m also supervised by Professor Euan Harvey, Professor of Marine Science at Curtin University of Technology who has a special interest in marine fishes and the effects of human impacts such as fishing. My research is an independent University of Western Australia research project and has not received any additional outside funding. I’m very grateful to be supported by a UWA University Postgraduate award, the Jean Rogerson Scholarship.

Thank you for your interest in our research, your contribution is incredibly valuable. If you have friends or family who like to go fishing, spread the word and share this research with them! The larger the response, the greater the impact our research can have to ensure the sustainable management of WA waters for our future generations.

Project Members

Asha McNeill
Project Leader

Ph.D. Candidate
School of Agriculture and Environment, UWA

Dr Julian Clifton
Project Team Member

Senior Lecturer
School of Agriculture and Environment, Oceans Institute, UWA

Professor Euan Harvey
Project Team Member

Department of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University