Recfishwest partners with research providers, government agencies and other not for profit enterprises to ensure that appropriate research is undertaken in important species.
Current recreational fishing research projects include:
Metropolitan Bream Tagging
The WA Bream Classics are a series of lure only, catch and release fishing competitions usually held in Perth and Mandurah waters. Concerns from the public were raised about the impact catching Black Bream upstream, then releasing them downstream after competition weigh-in would have on the distribution and health of Bream. Recfishwest undertook a simple research program, tagging 150 Bream captured over two tournaments and determining where they were re-captured (if at all). In the months following, 7 Bream were re-captured by recreational fishers and reported to Recfishwest. In every instance the fish was found to be in good health, and had returned to the area of its original point of capture.
Blue Swimmer Crabs
The Swan-Canning Estuary, Leschenault Estuary and Geographe Bay are important Blue Swimmer Crab fisheries to the recreational sector. With minimal commercial fishing effort in these areas, little is known about the crab stock dynamics. Recfishwest, through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund has awarded funding to the Department of Fisheries to develop methods for the ongoing assessment of Blue Swimmer Crab recruitment and breeding stock of the Swan-Canning Estuary, Leschenault Estuary and Geographe Bay. The Department of Fisheries also plans to determine the effectiveness of tagging methods to provide information on the movement between these fisheries and adjacent marine environments with a heavier commercial presence.
Securing the future for Bream
Research scientists from Murdoch University’s Centre for Fish, Fisheries and Aquatic Ecosystems are undertaking a three-year study to future-proof Western Australia’s Black Bream against environmental change. Funded through a from Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, the project will involve researchers sampling the Moore Estuary, Swan-Canning River, Murray River, Walpole-Nornalup Inlet, Wilson Inlet, Wellstead Inlet and Culham Inlet to collect biological data on the Black Bream.
Over the course of the studies 4000 fish will be tagged in the Swan-Canning River and the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet to enable researchers to track their movements over time. Previous research has indicated that Bream are highly susceptible to the effects of environmental change, with studies conducted in the eastern states showing that Black Bream are travelling further upstream, likely in response to changes in salinity brought about by reductions in rainfall and freshwater discharge.
As freshwater discharge has declined markedly in south-western Australian in recent years, it is important to act now to gain an understanding of Black Bream’s current densities and growth, as well as their length and age at maturity in WA estuaries, so that we can protect the species for future generations.
Southern calamari (Sepioteuthis australis) have become an iconic species for recreational fishers in south-western WA. An increased interest in squid fishing over recent years, following a decline in the abundance of scalefish and increased fishing restrictions, and recent advancements in highly specialised and efficient fishing methods has raised questions regarding the sustainability of S. australis stocks on south-western WA. With assistance from the recreational fishers, this project aims to fill knowledge gaps on the biology and provide vitally important data on the stock structure of this species in south-western WA which will act as a benchmark for future reference.
West Coast Demersal Scalefish
The west Australian Department of Fisheries conducts research on many popular recreational fish, including prize species such as Snapper, Baldchin Groper and Dhufish. Data from this researched is used in the sustainable management of these popular fish. You can play your part in this fishery by donating your fish frames to research. Click Here to find out more.