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Collaborative approaches to accessing and utilising historical citizen science data: A case-study with spearfishers from eastern Australia


Gledhill, DC and Hobday, AJ and Welch, DJ and Sutton, SG and Lansdell, MJ and Koopman, M and Jeloudev, A and Smith, A and Last, PR, Collaborative approaches to accessing and utilising historical citizen science data: A case-study with spearfishers from eastern Australia, Marine and Freshwater Research, 66, (3) pp. 195-201. ISSN 1323-1650 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Journal compilation copyright CSIRO 2015

DOI: doi:10.1071/MF14071


Scientists are increasingly utilising non-traditional data to assist with defining biological baselines and for monitoring environmental change. These data present challenges not encountered with traditional, fit-for-purpose scientific data, including engaging with data owners, building trust and maintaining relationships, analysing and interpreting data collected under varying methodologies, and the possibility that data may not suit an intended purpose. Here we describe engagement activities undertaken with recreational spearfishers to collate and examine spearfishing club data collected from competitions held throughout south-eastern Australia from the 1960s until the present, representing one of the most extensive citizen science datasets for marine species in the region. The data proved suitable for demonstrating change in coastal fish communities, some of which were consistent with expectations given a warming climate over the period considered. With an attitudinal survey of divers we also asked about their experience of environmental change, and interaction with management over recent decades. Mutually beneficial outcomes include: collating and archiving significant data that may otherwise have been lost; improved understanding of spearfisher concerns and experiences; improved engagement between collaborators; and recognition of spearfishers' desire for better engagement in science and management. Lessons learnt may be broadly applicable to improving collaboration between recreational fishers, citizen science groups, researchers and managers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:attitudinal change, citizen science, engagement model, fishes, historic data, recreational fishing, spearfishing
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fisheries management
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - recreational freshwater
UTAS Author:Hobday, AJ (Dr Alistair Hobday)
ID Code:118904
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-07-21
Last Modified:2017-08-09

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