Fishwise Community Grants - 2006 Funding Round

Assessing the Recreational Catch of Southern Bluefin Tuna in Tasmania

Lead Agency: Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute
Funding: $20,200.00
Start Date: 01 March 2007 End Date: 31 July 2009

  • Quantify the recreational SBT catch for the 2007 fishing season.
  • Describe the biological characteristics of the recreational SBT catch.
Final Report
The primary aim of this study was to quantify the catch of southern bluefin tuna (SBT) by recreational fishers in Tasmania. It also provides catch information on other gamefish species. The survey utilised boat ramp surveys (including coverage of gamefishing competitions) and charter boat logbooks. The boat ramp survey was the primary survey technique as it provided an effective means of sampling private-boat anglers. The survey was conducted at both the Pirates Bay (Tasman Peninsula) and Southport boat ramps between April and June 2008.

The boat ramp surveys indicated that during the survey period 215 SBT (177 retained) were caught from the Tasman Peninsula with a harvested weight of 5.0 tonnes. A further 112 SBT were caught and retained out of Southport weighing 3.6 tonnes. Fishing activity for a sub-set of gamefishers undertaken prior to the start of the boat ramp surveys indicated that at least 68 SBT were caught by private boat fishers earlier than April, with 58 of which were retained representing an estimated weight of 1.5 tonnes. Therefore the total harvest estimate from the recreational sector (excluding charter boat catch) fishing off south eastern Tasmania is 395 SBT with a retained catch of 347 weighing 10.1 tonnes.

A further 162 SBT were taken from charter boats with 133 being retained, giving a retained catch weight for the Tasman Peninsula of just over 3.9 tonnes. However, since catch information was unavailable for several key operators, these values are known to underestimate the magnitude of the charter catch.

By combining available catch estimates for recreational and charter sectors a catch of 557 SBT (95% CI = 422-708) was derived, 480 (95% CI = 365-609) of which were retained representing a harvested weight of 14.0 tonnes (95% CI = 10.6-17.7) for south eastern Tasmania in 2008. For several reasons these represents minimum estimates. Firstly the temporal and spatial scale of sampling did not cover the entire fishery, for instance any private vessels (including motor cruisers) operating out of access points other than Pirates Bay and Southport were not covered and any fishing and catches taken prior to April were under-represented. Charter boat catches of SBT were reported earlier in the season, suggesting that this latter issue may have been significant. Furthermore, coverage of the charter fleet was incomplete, the magnitude of catches taken by those operators not represented have the potential to be significant.As the wider issues relating to the management of the tuna fishery and rights of recreational fishers have yet to be fully defined, it is unclear what level of future monitoring may be required. The current study provides insight into the recreational and charter fisheries and highlights some of the logistical issues that will need to be addressed in the development of any future monitoring programs that support the management of the fishery.

Assessment of the 2008 Recreational Gamefish Fishery of SE Tasmania, particularly Bluefin Tuna
Click on image to download full report

TV Footage of Recreational Fisheries

Lead Agency: Department of Primary Industries and Water
Funding: $12,000.00
Start Date: 01 February 2007 End Date: 01 July 2009

  • The project aims to increase TV news coverage of the start and end of marine fishing seasons and other recreational marine fishing regulations. This coverage will reinforce existing regulatory messages and create greater public awareness of marine fishing and the regulations governing it.

Research Angler Program

Lead Agency: Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute
Partners: Australian National Sportsfishing Association
Funding: $18,000.00
Start Date: 01 January 2007 End Date: July 2011

The primary objective is to develop a statewide network of keen recreational anglers to provide information about their fishing activities. Of particular interest from a research and management perspective is biological information for a number of key species including bream, flathead, Australian salmon and pelagic gamefish. The project will allow us to:
  • Collect biological information (eg. size composition) for key species.
  • Detect recruitment pulses, and changes in relative abundance (based on catch rates) and stock structure.
  • Develop a network of experienced 'research' anglers that have ongoing capacity to participate in a variety of research programs that may arise, eg. collection of fish otoliths for ageing.
Final Report
What did the project achieved?

This study represents the first implementation of a statewide research angler logbook program (RALP) within Tasmania to report on recreational fishing activity, with a focus on marine fishing. Over a period of two years and three months 22 fishers reported on 516 fishing events, many reporting on group catch from multiple fishers. Most of the popular fishing activities and target species synonymous with recreational fishing in Tasmania were represented in the data. The reporting participants were distributed around the state with the exception of the west and far south coasts, with the greatest proportion of reporting fishers based around southeast Tasmania. Close to 8200 individual animals were caught representing over 90 taxa. Size measurements were reported from more than 4600 individuals. Based on these metrics the pilot RALP proved successful at collecting information on a range of fishing activities as well as a significant amount of information on the size composition of species captured by recreational fishers in Tasmania, including high profile species such as: southern rock lobster, southern bluefin tuna, striped trumpeter, scallops and abalone.

The project, which was implemented as a pilot study, has also identified limitations with the angler diary method to provide a robust representation of Tasmania's recreational fishery, with potentially significant biases in catch rates and catch composition.

Evaluation of a Recreational Angler Logbook Program for Tasmania
Click on image to download full report


The data collected from the Research Angler diary survey has been used in various reports, including providing size composition data of key recreational species that were reported in the statewide survey of recreational fishing in Tasmania 2007/08 (Lyle et al 2009). Size composition data of Australian Salmon had also been used in the report 'Australian salmon (Arripis trutta): Population structure, reproduction, diet and composition of commercial and recreational catches' (Stewart et al 2011).

It is anticipated in the future that we will use the infrastructure developed for the angler diary program, including the database and logbooks, to compliment data collected by other survey methodologies. In particular we intend to distribute logbooks to gamefishers concurrent with the Fishwise funded project 'Survey of offshore private boat fishing in Tasmania with emphasis on gamefish and deepwater reef-fish species'.

Follow-up/ Future Activities:

We intend to continue with the Research Angler logbook program but at a reduced capacity and more targeted at specific fisheries/issues. The data collected are still useful in the absence of more robust estimates of size composition and catch rates.

One of the biggest limitations in delivering a successful angler logbook program is adequate resourcing to properly manage respondents to ensure retention and consistency in reporting over time, especially given the detail of information required from respondents.

We believe that now the infrastructure is developed we can maintain the database and enter data as it is submitted for the current number of angler diarists with capacity for a small degree of growth through new participants. But would be limited in our ability to recruit significant numbers of new participants. Additionally our ability to report to angler diarists and focused reports on progress of the Angler logbook program will also be limited.

We do however intend, to use the logbook and accompanying database to target particular fisheries (gamefish, mentioned previously as an example) to compliment data collected from other survey methodologies.

Update of the Fishcare Display Trailer

Lead Agency: Fishcare Volunteers
Partners: Tasmanian Marine Police, Inland Fisheries Service
Funding: $76,200.00
Start Date:01 January 2007 End Date: 10 June 2010

  • To provide an eye-catching and informative educational display which promotes sustainable fishing.
  • To ensure that the sustainable and responsible fisheries message gets out to regional areas around the State.
Final Report
What did the project achieve?

Quotations were sought from professional consultants on redesign of the mobile educational display concepts. Documentation of the quotes required assessment of current displays, broad understanding of the user group and target audience and an extensive knowledge of the education/awareness campaign. One submission suggested re-badging using a cartoon crab image, which was judged as being inappropriate for Tasmanian fishers. Submissions from the quotation process included comments from two companies suggesting that the current themes of "Fish for the Future" and the "Fletcher the Fish" mascot were adequate. They were highly interactive, suited the application and were achieving the goals and that little would be gained in message delivery by changing these. A steering group (comprising of the recreational fisheries manager, communications officer and all staff from the Community Partnership Program) decided to heed this advice and to continue the current themes but to replace the old material with more contemporary material. Fletcher will continue to be used for some promotions, but care needs to be taken about over-doing mascots. The importance of consistent images and themes were noted as a priority.

The steering group noted the upcoming changes in the recreational fishing rules due to the 2009 Scalefish Review. It was decided that updating of some of the display material should be held over until the new rules were finalised. This has now occurred and work on new displays completed.


Two new light weight trailers have been completed and delivered to the North and South regions.

Planning and design of these trailers has been a major component of this project. Extensive research and consultation involved the Marine Police, TARFish, individual Fishcare Volunteers, experienced trailer and caravan manufacturers in Tasmania and interstate, Fishcare in New South Wales and South Australia, Coastcare, Landcare and considerable time on internet searches and discussions with other user groups. Issues of overall design, construction methods, suitability of materials for specific applications etc had to be taken into account during the planning stage.

Specifications were drafted and quotations were sought from qualified manufacturers through a rigorous process supported by thorough and extensive documentation and a rigorous selection process in accordance with Government standards.

The trailers are all aluminium to reduce weight and are fitted with high standard seals to ensure water and dust-proofing. They are wired for power and equipped with monitor and DVD player and lights. Special racks and drawers are provided to accommodate awkward items such as fishing rods and display equipment. Particular attention was paid to OH&S details. The trailers are suited to variable display functions and to be robust enough to withstand gravel roads and extensive towing.

Fishcare South trailer

Status of trailer displays - Fishcare
The project aimed to redesign visual educational display units. This has been done. The need for consistent image and display layout has been identified.

Other needs identified for trailer mobile education displays

East Coast Trailer
In order to increase the presence of Fishcare activities through the diverse Northern region, the old Northern trailer has now been based in St Helens. As this trailer is heavy, has some rust and is the displays are outdated approval was sought and gained to vary the project to include refurbishment and bring new livery of the previous North region trailer. Basing a trailer now allows the motivated east coast Fishcare group to become autonomous in getting out and about in this important recreational area.

The modifications include:
• a sun awning to resolve OH&S issues with regard to sun exposure;
• re-building the interior design panels so they are user friendly, limit OHS risks, and to incorporate the audio visual displays, as in the new trailer design.
• Repairing rust and exterior panels, and coating the exterior with the same vinyl wrap design as the other new trailers.

Unspent funds from those budgeted for the concept redesign (Image consultants now being redundant) have been applied to the extent of less than $5,000. Approval was sought and gained for this change in expenditure.

East coast Fishcare Tasmania trailer

North West Coast Trailer
The North West trailer is relatively new. Given the high level of satisfaction of the new trailers and the display features minor modifications have been made to the North West trailer.

The modifications include:
• a sun awning to resolve OH&S issues with regard to sun exposure;
• re-building the interior design panels so they are user friendly, limit OHS risks, and to incorporate the audio visual displays, as in the new trailer design.

Approval was gained to upgrade the displays for the North-West trailer displays and to provide a shade awning identical to the others to resolve OH&S issues regarding sun exposure.


These highly visible displays with their eye-catching designs are a focal point for education at events such as Agfest, Take a Kid Fishing Days, Seniors Fishing Days and the like.

The new trailers and displays has re-motivated some Fishcare Volunteers to conduct fisheries awareness activities.

The Department and Fishcare Volunteers (FCVs) personally have received positive feedback on the trailers. FCVs have commented that the displays are easier to set up at events and appear to be more professional.

The outputs of this project are demonstrated by the production of 2 new trailers (North & South), recycling/refurbishment of a trailer (old North that was to be decommissioned now based in St Helens) and the modernisation of the NW trailer. It is difficult to measure the outcomes, such as this activity directly improving education awareness by a quantifiable amount. Recreational surveys indicate that the Department's communication and education programs are improving the knowledge and need for sustainable management of the recreational fishing community and uptake of responsible recreational fishing practices. For example the recently released report "Survey Of Recreational Fishing In Tasmania - 2007/08" partly attributes the release of fish and improved adherence to size limits and/ bag limits to education programs aimed at encouraging fishers to take only what they need for a feed.

The usage of the trailers has not been quantified at this stage. A log book has been introduced to record the usage of trailers.

Follow-up / Future Activities

Evaluating the usage of trailers
It has been suggested that each trailer should have a logbook recording the usage and to identify any associated maintenance issues. This may assist in justifying where trailers are based, or funding future modifications and replacements. It may also assist in seeking contributions from other organisations, such as Inland Fisheries Service.

The Recreational Fisheries Section has developed a strategic plan in consultation with stakeholders (initial input was by means of a review workshop). A business plan is now operational and general outputs will be reported on an annual financial year basis by August). The report will initially be tabled at Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee and then displayed on the Department's website. This report will outline events where the trailers and displays have been used.

Future Use of trailers and displays
Trailers will continue to be used in event circuits.

Up keep and maintenance of trailers
The importance of budgeting for the maintenance of the trailers and displays has been identified. As such the remaining operational funds from this project will be transferred for future use in a trust line for identified future maintenance and repairs of the Fishcare trailers and associated displays.

A project variation including an extension to the time period of the project was approved by, the grantor. The request for variation (and progress report) also noted that the Fishwise Community Partnership budget (that includes Fishcare) did not have allowance for future maintenance, repairs or update of the trailers & displays - the capital items purchased with Fishwise Grant funds. It was noted that the trailers and displays are a core element the program, frequently used and as such it is essential that they be maintained at a high standard. In addition there are OH&S issues that require them to be properly maintained, as there are 80 - 100 volunteers using this equipment.

The Grantor approved the establishment of a trust line for the maintenance of trailers and associated displays with the "saved" funds with the condition that the entire salary component remaining at that stage be returned. This will be undertaken, as depicted in the expenditure report.

Fish Identification and Measuring Signs

Lead Agency: Fishcare Volunteers
Partners: Marine & Safety Tasmania, Tasports, coastal Local Governments, Parks & Wildlife
Funding: $60,943.00
Start Date: 01 December 2006 End Date: 25 June 2010

  • To provide conspicuous fish identification and measuring signage at a further 15 fishing sites around Tasmania.
  • To support stakeholder and other community interest in these sites.
  • To ensure that the sustainable and responsible fisheries message gets out to regional areas around the State.
Final Report
What did the project achieve?

In addition, signs installed previously have been updated to reflect changes in the Scalefish Rules. Approval was gained to incorporate the cost of updating the information into the project.

These attractive, eye-catching signs have substantially added to awareness of recreational fisheries in Tasmania, and as a consequence increased compliance and awareness of the need to fish responsibly.


The project added 13 new signs. Initially, it was intended that 15 would be achieved, but concern was expressed that due to cost escalations it was considered that there may be insufficient funds to complete and install the 15 signs. (The costs related to the implications of having to modify the fish id stations with the new Scalefish Rules information.)

This project in conjunction with the fish id stations funded from the RFCGP project have produced 58 Fish identification and measuring depots installed in many key recreational fishing sites around Tasmania. Prior to these broad projects no such signs were installed. Although all the fish id depots have been produced and delivered, 9 depots still to be installed at the sites due to circumstances beyond our control relating to the 3 stages of the project.
Fish Identification and Measuring Sign Northern Tasmania
Fish ID Sign for Northern Regions

Graphic design and layout was completed for the information panels. Three design types were produced tailored to depict regional fishing rules and themes for the south, north and north west.

The general design layout for the three types of Information panels was consistent throughout the State, however each type included regionally specific information including,
  • fish names and graphical pictures to assist in identifying key species;
  • size and possession limits;
  • a ruler tool to measure fish;
  • information on locations and restrictions in shark refuge areas, research areas and marine reserves;
  • licensing requirements;
  • protected and endangered species names and graphical pictures to assist in identifying species; and
  • responsible fish handling practices.
Fish Identification and Measuring Sign Southern Tasmania
Fish ID Sign for Southern Region

A register of all sites for all fish id and measuring stations has been implemented and information on sites and maintenance (condition, information panel content correctness) is being recorded.

The depot register will continue to be maintained and utilised. Fishcare Volunteers and DPIPWE staff opportunistically inspect the depots and maintenance issues are recorded in the data base.

DPIPWE have given a commitment for the future maintenance of the signs by setting aside a trust fund line from the underspending on some budget lines project funds in the Fishwise Budget for maintenance of the depots.
Fish Identification and Measuring Sign North West Tasmania
Fish ID Sign for North-West Regions

Other outputs linked to the project included media articles and FCV fishing activities that utilised the depots. These activities were conducted during the course of the project in activities that were essentially in kind activities funded by the broader activities within the DPIPWE Recreational Fisheries Section.

Over the course of time many activities will be conducted around the fish id and measuring depots and outcomes will continually be built upon.

Fish Identification and Measuring Sign South Arm
Fish ID Sign errected at South Arm

The fish id stations serve many outcomes. While the fish id stations may be used for measuring in the direct location, often and possibly more importantly they serve as a reminder for fishers on their way past (boat launching or driving past) to fish responsibly, including measuring and counting their catch.

This project has had many outcomes that contribute to the following:

Developed or enhanced partnerships between government and the recreational fishing community and industry to conserve, restore and enhance the values of recreational fisheries by:
  • Increased the number of new community networks between Fishcare Volunteers and DPIPWE staff, with recreational fishers, Local Councils, Port Authorities, MAST, TSIC, Heritage Tasmania and CSIRO, retailers and rural and regional communities in Tasmania.
  • Forged stronger working relationships with established community networks for the long term.
  • 18 Municipal Councils and their local communities have been engaged in the fish id and measuring depot projects.
Enhanced sustainable resource use and fishing practices by recreational fishers - through providing regionally specific fishing information of:
  • fish names and graphics improve catch species recognition, and the measuring ruler graphics assist in compliance with size and possession limits;
  • maps and discussion on fishing area restrictions (shark refuge areas, research areas and marine reserves has increased awareness of and compliance with these areas);
  • licensing information has reduced the confusion of licence requirements of (Vic/NSW visitors) in some key areas;
  • protected and endangered species names, photos and text will continue to increase awareness of which species must be returned to the water as quick as possible if encountered;
  • responsible fish handling practices discussion will increase awareness on the subject;
  • the inclusion of the Fishwatch number (Marine Police) may assist in reporting illegal fishing practices that may affect the resource;
  • key fishing contact numbers will assist in the wider community contacting the Department to enhance their understanding of rules and responsible fishing practices or indeed report their observations and suggestions.
Developed a sense of ownership, awareness and responsibility among recreational fishers for the sustainable use of fish resources and fish habitats by:
  • Increased Fishcare Volunteer pride, ownership and commitment to the Fishcare Program and promotion of sustainable fishing in their local areas;
  • The involvement of local government has increased ownership at a local level;
  • Enhanced capacity of local communities' awareness and capacity to deliver educational programs such as fishing clinics, school outings, tourism operator interpretation stops, local community group and municipal events in local areas.
Maintained or enhanced fish habitats for present and future generation by:
  • Increased awareness of fishing rules including size and possession limits and where to get more information;
  • Increased awareness of sustainable fishing practises eg good fish handling, bait use, and provision of a fish measuring tool;
  • Increased awareness of how to report of illegal fishing activity;
  • Increased awareness of marine environment issues eg protection of rare and protected species and habitat, shark refuge areas, marine reserves and research areas; and
  • good biosecurity hygiene practises.
Improved recreational fishing opportunities, access and participation by:
  • Increased awareness of recreational fishing activity and fishers needs by councils in local areas. This will assist in promoting discussion for adequately resourcing local projects such as recreational fishing access ( including disabled fisher access) and upgrade and maintenance of current fishing jetties and ramps. Signs often installed in conjunction with these activities.
  • The provision of readily available information lessens the stress that some interstate and international visitors or new immigrants report from the fear of not abiding by local fishing laws.

The project has brought to 58 the number of signs posted (or to be installed) at popular fishing locations around Tasmania. The signs provide useful information on recreational fishing and fisheries rules, and in consequence increased compliance and awareness of the need to fish responsibly.

Fish identification and measuring stations are considered a worthwhile fisheries awareness and education tool for a number of reasons; including:
  • Provide a permanent source of information including graphic images that assist to identify species and corresponding fishing rules at key measuring sites;
  • Readily available to the first time fisher, family and low avidity fishers;
  • Provides a visual cue to fish responsibly;
  • Information is available 24/7;
  • Provides a base to conduct a focal point for Fishcare activities - in some cases Senior fishing days or TAKF days;
  • Provides a site where to find more information.
Having the information on site when fishers are engaged in the act of fishing is a timely prompt and tool for changing fisher behaviour and assists Fishcare Volunteers to carry out their marine interpretation activities whilst on patrol at the sites.

The fish id and measuring depots are an attractive design that provides a focal point for people to think about fishing responsibly. Some of the locations where signs are installed are used for group fishing activities (such as Take a Kid Fishing Days, Senior Fishing Days) and the depots provide a centre point for conveying key fisheries education messages. Other locations may be launching ramps or fishing platforms.

The key behaviours targeted are:
  • improved fish identification including protected and threatened species;
  • return of undersize fish to grow and breed;
  • not taking too many fish to ensure equitable sharing of the resource and the sustainability of fish stocks and marine ecosystems and processes;
  • good fish handling practises to ensure post release survival and minimise fish wastage;
  • to understand the restrictions of designated shark refuge areas, marine protected areas and research areas in the local vicinity;
  • good biosecurity hygiene practises; and
  • the reporting of illegal fishing activity to marine police.
The fish id stations has information such as where to get a Recreational Sea Fishing Guide, information on the rules such as the Department's fishing web site Key recreational fishing contact numbers are also provided for further information.

The information provided is regionally specific to take account of the unique differences in fish species distribution and habitat variation around Tasmania's coast.

A photographic data base of all finished signs has been established and will be maintained.

Follow-up / Future Activities

Maintain the signs and continue to distribute written documentation during Fishcare volunteer patrols.

A light weight plastic replica information panel could be made for each region for use by Fishcare Volunteers at schools and events (eg AgFest), as an educational tool and to promote fish id and measuring and the recognition of the depots.


  • Southport
  • Dover
  • Port Huon Wharf
  • Shipwrights Point
  • Glaziers Bay
  • Cygnet - Lymington
  • Woodbridge
  • Margate
  • Dru Point
  • Gordon
  • Adventure Bay
  • CSIRO Wharf
  • Austins Ferry
  • Brighton
  • South Arm
  • Cremorne
  • Opossum Bay
  • Mid Way Point
  • Dodges Ferry
  • Pirates Bay
  • Taranna
  • Nubeena
  • Hobart
  • Orford
  • Prosser River
  • Swansea
  • Triabunna
North East Tamar:
  • St Helens
  • Main Wharf
  • Kerwins Beach
  • Binalong Bay
  • Bridport - Bridport Pier
  • Bridport - Musselroe Bay
  • Tomahawk
  • Beauty Pt
  • Inspection Head
  • Beauty Pt
  • Boat Ramp
  • George Town Jetty
  • George Town (Weymouth)
  • Sidmouth
  • Low Head
  • Bellingham
  • Flinders Is Whitemark
North West:
  • Port Sorell Platform
  • Port Sorell launch ramp
  • Burnie
  • Devonport
  • Musselrock
  • Devonport
  • Horsehead Creek
  • Devonport
  • Reg Hope
  • King Island
  • Naracoopa
  • King Island
  • Grassy
  • West Inlet
  • East Esplanade Smithton
  • Montaque
  • Stanley
  • Inglis River
  • Boat Ramp
  • Wynyard wharf
  • Cape Bridge
  • Meredith St
  • Macquarie Heads
  • Ulverstone

Game Fishing Education Kit

Lead Agency: Fishcare Volunteers
Funding: $5,000.00
Start Date: 01 December 2006 End Date: 15 December 2010
  • To develop a game fishing educational kit that endorses a sustainable fishing ethic.
  • To begin a targeted educational program before the next game fishing season.
  • To provide the material to maintain a longer-term educational program past the duration of this project.

Fishcare - Take a Kid Fishing and Fishing Clinics

Lead Agency: Fishcare Volunteers
Funding: $37,620.00
Start Date: 01 October 2006 End Date: 16 June 2010

  • To ensure the Volunteers are equipped to present a professional 'education is fun' approach in their interactions with kids.
  • To revamp the Take A Kid Fishing Days in response to growing interests.
  • To communicate a 'sustainable and responsible fishing message' to thousands of Tasmanians through events across the state.
Final Report
What did the project achieve?

The original concept was to equip schools-trained volunteers to conduct fishing clinics in skills such as knot tying, rigging, gear maintenance and fish biology while conducting Take a Kid Fishing Days (TAKF) during the summer of 06/07.

The five TAKF's occurred, and were quite successful, attracting up to 100 children per event. It was, however, found that most of the necessary skills for the fishing clinics already existed in the volunteer community. In fish biology, university biologists were able to pass on skills to volunteers. Also, substantial in kind support was received from sponsors such as gear suppliers and media.

The upshot was that the result was achieved at much lower cost than had been budgeted.

In 2009 the Fishwise Community Partnership project incorporated some funding to undertake the TAKF activities. After a transition to finalise capital expenditure, such as purchasing rods, no funding has been used. This combined with the savings described previously results in significant funds that may be returned to the Fishwise Community Grant Fund.

Approval for an extension was sought and gained. Additional events were held in 2008 and 2009. A total of 17 events were scheduled, one of which was cancelled on the day due to inclement weather. In addition, Seniors Fishing Days and Disabled fishing days were held using the equipment.

TAKF events were;
• Stanley Wharf October 2006
• Beauty Point October 2006
• St Helens January 2007
• Hobart February 2007
• Hobart March 2007
• St Helens January 2008
• Hobart February 2008
• Hobart November 2008
• Launceston November 2008
• St Helens January 2009
• Hobart February 2009
• Stanley Wharf March 2009
• Launceston November 2009
• Hobart November 2009
• St Helens January 2010

Events were advertised in the papers, on Win TV, and in the Recreational Fishing Guides. During the course of the project business offered to sponsor events and therefore considerable savings were made.

The program of measuring effectiveness was not pursued due to the effectiveness being obvious, and a shortage of staff who were becoming increasingly occupied with field work.

Planning future strategy became routine, with regular meetings to review progress and plan events.


The program has improved recreational fisheries awareness and knowledge to hundreds of Tasmanian children, their parents and siblings. The equipment has also been used in events such as Seniors fishing days and Disabled fishing days.

Follow-up / Future Activities

Continuation of this effective program has been incorporated into the Fishwise Community Partnership budget. It should be noted that there is only capacity to continue on with a similar number of events as carried out in this project.

Educational Signage at Tomahawk

Lead Agency: Tomahawk Community
Partners: Parks and Wildlife, Marine and Safety Tasmania
Funding: $260.00
Start Date: 01 October 2006 End Date: 31 December 2007
  • To educate fishers to clean their fish away from the launching ramp and not leave the fish waste on the beach.
  • To ensure visitors and locals can enjoy the local fishing experience together.
Final Report
The project scope focussed on removing fish waste from the shoreline.

The Tomahawk Community Association Inc agreed that to implement this objective a strategy to promote a considered response within the fishing community rather than imposing an order was more appropriate for this situation.

With this in mind the Tomahawk Community Association Inc supplied the DPIW Graphic Artist with the original concept for the design. It was felt that a simple pictorial layout with minimal words would be the most effective form for the sign especially given the close proximity of this sign to some other very wordy signage. Various options had been drafted and discussed by the committee in the design phase.

Initial discussions with Parks & Wildlife identified the best possible site for the sign and issues of land tenure were clarified. It was agree that rather than add another post to an already cluttered area it would be appropriate to place this sign on the same post as a sympathetic P&W sign. Consideration was given to the size of each sign to ensure equal exposure.

Production quotes were sought and Eye Spy Signs was engaged.

The sign has been in place for the last fishing season and the Committee feels the response to the sign has been a positive one.

To acquit the surplus funds from the project it was decided to link with the Fish Identification and Measuring station project that promotes a similar non-fouling message and promotes sustainable and ethical fishing. Both the Committee and DPIW approved the transfer of funds.

Assessment of the Tasmanian Recreational Rock Lobster and Abalone Fisheries

Lead Agency: Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute
Funding: $37,380.00
Start Date: 01 October 2006 End Date: 31 March 2008
The project will provide a detailed assessment of the 2006/07 recreational rock lobster and abalone fishery in terms of participation, intensity of fishing, catch rates, and total harvest. The project will provide information necessary to enable the management performance indicator for the recreational fishery to be evaluated in a valid way. Catch information will be provided as an input into the rock lobster and abalone stock assessments.
  • Estimate the 2006/07 recreational rock lobster and abalone harvest.
  • Provide reliable estimates of catch and effort by fishing method (in the case of rock lobster) and by region.
  • Assess the recreational share of the rock lobster and abalone harvests.
  • Determine rock lobster size composition based on fishing method (and region).
Final Report
Southern rock lobster and abalone (blacklip and greenlip) are highly prized by recreational fishers in Tasmania. The numbers of rock lobster and abalone licences issued have increased steadily since the introduction of the present recreational licensing system in 1995, with 20,000 persons holding at least one rock lobster licence and 12,500 persons licensed to fish for abalone during 2006/07. This represents more than doubling of the number of lobster and tripling of the number of abalone licence-holders since 1995. Rock lobster are taken by a variety of methods, including pots, ring or hoop nets, and dive collection. Abalone are primarily harvested by divers.

The present study represents the sixth survey of the lobster fishery and the fifth for the abalone fishery undertaken since 1996. A random sample of licence-holders was contacted by telephone in October 2006 and invited to participate in the survey in which fishing activity was monitored throughout the 2006/07 season. A total of 427 licensed respondents completed the survey, representing about one in 50 licence holders and a response rate of over 90%.

During the 2006/07 rock lobster season (4 November 2006 - 31 August 2007), recreational fishers harvested an estimated 135,000 lobsters, based on 113,400 fisher days of effort. Potting was the dominant method and represented almost 80% of the effort (days fished) but only 63% of the estimated harvest. Dive collection accounted for about 18% of the effort and 32% of the harvest, while ring usage contributed 2% of the effort and 4% of the harvest. The overall average harvest rate for the season was 1.2 lobsters per day, with daily harvest rates of 0.9 for pots, 2.2 for dive collection, and 2.3 for rings. The daily bag limit of five lobsters was rarely attained for pots (< 3% of pot days) whereas the bag limit was attained in about one in five days based on dive and ring methods.

Seasonally the lobster fishery exhibited three distinct phases; intense activity early in the season (November to January) that accounted for about 68% of the total harvest; a period of intermediate fishing activity (February to April) that contributed a further 27%; and finally, a phase of low activity (May to August) that accounted around 5% of the season's total.

Conversion of numbers to weights produced a total recreational harvest estimate of 135 tonnes, with catches from the south-east and east coasts accounting for 60%, the north coast 26%, and west coast 14% of the total weight. This represented 79% of the total allowable recreational catch (TARC) of 170 tonnes and was equivalent to 8% of the notional total allowable catch (TAC) (inclusive of the commercial catch) of 1,693.5 tonnes.

An estimated 105,500 abalone, based on 20,900 diver days of effort, were harvested by recreational fishers between 1 November 2006 and 31 October 2007. About 59% of the total abalone harvest was taken between November and January, 33% between February and April, and 9% between May and October. In total, 40% of the catch was taken from the south-east coast, with catches from the east and north coasts also significant.

About one-fifth of all dives that were targeted at abalone resulted in no retained catch. By contrast, the daily bag limit of 10 abalone was achieved in over one-quarter of all dives and the overall average daily harvest rate was 5.0 abalone.

By converting numbers to weights, the 2006/07 recreational harvest of abalone was determined to have been 49 tonnes, equivalent to 2% of the combined recreational and commercial catch of 2,459 tonnes. There are currently no explicit performance indicators relating to the recreational fishery for abalone.

Overall, there has been surprisingly little change in harvest estimates for rock lobster and abalone since the early 2000s despite the steady increase in licence numbers. Several factors have contributed to this: firstly there has been a decline in the proportion of licence-holders who actually utilise their licences (i.e. fish), resulting in a slower rate of growth in active fisher numbers; secondly there has been a general decline in the average number of days fished per season for both rock lobster and abalone; and thirdly, linked to this latter point, there have been declines in the average seasonal harvest per fisher. Factors contributing to these trends warrant further attention but are consistent with a general perception amongst respondents that most had fished less often than in the previous season.
Tasmanian recreational rock lobster and abalone survey 2006-2007
Click on image to download full report

RecFish Australia

Lead Agency: RecFish Australia
Partners: TARFish
Funding: $15,000.00
Start Date: 01 January 2007 End Date: 31 December 2008

Final Report
The Recfish Australia Strategic Plan for 2008 - 2012
An Operational Plan for 2008-09 to support the Strategic Plan was recently presented to the board for comment. The Operational Plan aligns closely to the Key Areas of the Strategic Plan.

Recfish Australia Communiqué
The next Recfish Communiqué will be issued in December. Previous issues can be found on the recfish Australia website The Communiqué circulation continues to increase with many requests to be added to the mailing list including boating organisations, fishing magazines, etc.

2nd National Biennial Recreational Fishing Conference and Awards
The 2nd national conference on recreational fishing was a great success with over 75 participants from state and federal government, peak recreational fishing representative bodies and research institutions. There seemed to be the right balance of guest speakers and the opportunity to discuss issues. The National Policy for Recreational Fishing formed the basis of discussion of a vision for the future and many excellent ideas were identified. The proceedings will be prepared in the coming months and circulated to participants for comment before being released on the Recfish Australia website.

The conference and subsequent workshop were made possible through support of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

The 2008 Recfishing Awards were presented at the conference dinner. Photos of the winners have been posted on the Recfish Australia webpage. Press releases about the conference and the dinner are attached to this report.

Recfish Australia 2008 AGM
The AGM was held at Fisheries Research House (FRDC) in Canberra on Sunday 19th October 2008. The AGM saw several important constitutional changes in place and the transition to a representative board where each member can nominate a board member. Operationally, the change from an expertise based board to a
representative board should not see too much change but we welcome new board members and farewell old. Both John Cleary (TAS) and Malcolm Poole (NSW) did not renew their board nomination and both were thanked for the huge amount of support and service that they have provided to Recfish Australia over the years. TARFish also has a position on the new board under the changes effected at the 2008 AGM.

Recfish Australia continues to engage in national programs and projects that have broad appeal for all recreational fishers. These projects have flow on benefits to anglers in all states including Tasmania. For Recfish Australia to continue to engage with the Australian government, it is vital that the organisation has strong support from its members. Over the next coming months, Recfish Australia will be preparing a value statement and describing in detail the roles that it performs and the value of these activities not only to recreational fishers but also to government. Recfish Australia will also be seeking out strategic partnerships from a wide range of stakeholders.

The CEO attended the 5th World Recreational Fishing Conference (5WRFC) in Florida in November 2008. The previous CEO was on the International Steering Committee for this conference.

Membership of Recfish Australia is currently 7 state or national organisations. Approaches have been made to a number of associations and with the recent changes to the constitution it is expected that further associations will join, either as full or affiliate members. Native Fish Australia have indicated a keenness to join.

Recfish Australia continues with its role of working on national groups and examples include Commonwealth Fisheries Research Advisory Board, Small Pelagic Fisheries MAC, Aquatic Animal Health Committee, Bait Working Group, Aquatic Animal Welfare Strategy and Aquatic Working Group, Fish Names Committee, National Abalone Advisory Committee.

The Communication Plan continues to be reviewed and further developed by our Communications sub-committee with input from the Board. The new strategic plan for 2008 - 2012 and newly developed operational plan continue to determine the structure and content of the communications plan.

Recfish Australia also recently released its policy on threatened and endangered fish species and once again reiterated that management measures need to be based on sound scientific fact.

At our recent AGM and national conference, the issue of access to both marine and freshwater environments was raised. Over the next few months, Recfish Australia will be involved with workshops to examine access issues and it is hoped that national guidelines can be developed. We will be calling on the experience of different states that have expertise in these matters and some of the examples from Tasmania are of particular interest.


The NEATFish (National Environmental Assessment of Tournament Fishing)
NEATFish online ( is currently under construction and will be available by the end of December. Applicants will be able to complete an interactive self assessment of their tournament and then can choose to apply for official accreditation of their tournament which is valid for three years. The next step will involve promoting the system through print and other media and attendance at fishing and boating shows. Several marine park management agencies including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority have expressed an interest in using NEATFish to assess tournaments within marine parks.

The Next Generation of Leaders program
The attendance of Next Generation of Leaders (NGL) at the National Recreational Fishing Conference and the Recfishing Research workshop which was recently held in Canberra reiterated the value of investing in the next generation of leaders. Participants from the Western Australia state program were also in attendance and all future leaders made a valued contribution to the conference which was commented on by many older participants. Several NGLs also made presentations to and attended the Recfish Australia AGM. A NSW Future Leaders program has been announced and as with the WA program Recfish Australia has offered the facilitators full assistance for NSW. See the attached report from WA Young Future Leaders.

Strategic Revenue Options
The consultant report has been reviewed by the Recfish Australia board and will be released before the end of the year. The report provides several recommendations for fund raising options at both the state and federal government level. A focus group will meet early next year to discuss the outcomes.

Review of the national code of practice (COP)
The code was provided to the Aquatic Animal Welfare Working Group for comment and members, including RSPCA were happy with the changes made to the code, particularly with regards to raising the profile of ethical handling of fish. It is planned to release the Code before the summer holiday fishing season. A communication program using a variety of media sources has been planned. It will be strongly suggested to state and national member organisations that they adopt this code as their own to ensure a consistent approach to ethical and sustainable angling.

Recfishing Research
Recfishing Research hosted a one-day workshop following on from the national recreational fishing conference. The aim of the workshop was to review the priority areas contained in the Recfishing Research Business Plan and to identify projects that could be progressed under each key area. The workshop was very well supported from a range of sectors and there was considerable discussion about priorities. The steering committee met the following day to discuss the recommendations and a new version of the Business Plan will be prepared.

Recfishing Research continues to review research projects prior to submission to funding bodies and most projects that go through the Recfishing Research process have a good chance of being supported. Information and updates about available research continues to be circulated. The new webpage is up and running and content from the Released Fish Survival website has been
migrated there.

Strategic research plan for the sustainable resource use of Longtail Tuna in Australian waters
Funds have been paid to FRDC from the co-contributers. The investigators are at the data discovery stage of the project and will have more to report in a few months time.

The project was scheduled to start in October and given the delay in the approval process, the project timelines will be adjusted in line with the FRDC proposal to ensure that the objectives outlined are met.

Recreational fishing liaison project (MPA)
Recfish Australia recently met with DEWHA representatives to discuss progress with consultation for the further roll out of Commonwealth Marine Parks. The Amateur Fishermen's Association of the Northern Territory, Sunfish Queensland and Recfishwest were also present. Although the issue of the status of this project was not raised per se, the CEO subsequently received a call from Phil Boxall, Director - Temperate East Bioregion (which covers NSW and Victoria) and he is keen to progress the project from the DEWHA side.

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