The future of recreational fishing in the Northern Territory may be transformed with the eagerly anticipated “Enhancing Recreational Fisher Experience through Informed Decision Making,” research project now commenced. Spearheaded by Hudson Howells, in collaboration with NT Fisheries, Action Research, AFANT, the NT Guided Fishing Industry Association (NTGFIA), Fishwell Consulting, and Power Stats, the project aims to elevate the management of fisheries resources by incorporating invaluable fisher experience data.
The crux of this groundbreaking study is that fisher experience stands as a pivotal metric for defining optimal resource utilisation and fishery performance, particularly within the non-commercial fishing domain. The dearth of recreational fisher experience data has prompted key stakeholders in the fishing industry to advocate for the integration of experiential performance indicators into fisheries harvest strategies. The ultimate objective is to achieve enhanced and more efficient resource management in the Northern Territory.
The study will delve into the interplay between fisher satisfaction, experiences, and their interconnection with catch settings and any other aspects that may influence the overall fisher experience. Using existing frameworks for measuring fisher experience, the project seeks to validate their applicability within the Northern Territory as well as in other jurisdictions.
Presently, an absence of accessible data links experiential performance indicators to fisheries harvest strategies in the Northern Territory and the broader Australian context. This project is conducting a thorough exploration of recreational fisher experiences and the corresponding satisfaction levels derived from fishing trips. It endeavours to empower fisheries managers with innovative data collection methods and tools, to help them make well-informed decisions, bridge knowledge gaps and enhance their capacity to manage fisheries for optimum community benefit.
The initiative, designated as Project 2022-170: Enhancing Recreational Fisher Experience through Informed Decision Making, is receiving major backing from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) on behalf of the Australian Government.
Neil Howells, Partner at Hudson Howells, shares his thoughts:
“Our team is genuinely excited about the potential positive implications of this research on the recreational fishing community, not only within the Northern Territory but also beyond.
“By attaining an in-depth comprehension of fisher experience and satisfaction levels, the project strives to facilitate the implementation of effective strategies that will optimise the stewardship of fisheries resources, ensuring their enduring viability for the betterment of future generations.”
David Ciaravolo, CEO of AFANT, remarks:
“Recreational fishing stands as a $270 million contributor to the NT economy, bolstering 2,500 jobs and enriching the lives of 60,000 Territorians. Therefore, continuous innovation in the management of recreational fisheries remains imperative.
“We are excited to be part of this research partnership, delving into the experiences, contentment, and social performance of recreational fishing in the NT, with the anticipation of gleaning substantial insights through this comprehensive study.”
Kane Dysart, representing NTGFIA, states:
“Our focus with this pivotal study is twofold: firstly, to explore efficacious methods for data collection to assess the social performance of recreational Barramundi fishery management, and secondly, to seamlessly incorporate these social performance metrics into a cohesive harvest strategy.
“This seamless integration will enable the use of performance indicators to monitor the fishery’s social performance and prompt necessary management actions accordingly.”
About FRDC: Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) takes a leading role in planning and investment in fisheries research and development (R&D) to support the sustainability of our aquatic sectors and ecosystems. FRDC is a co-funded partnership between the Australian Government and fisheries and aquaculture. In addition to planning, investing in and managing R&D for fishing and aquaculture and the wider community, FRDC also prioritises the adoption of the knowledge and innovations resulting from its investments.