Managing for change: the Tasmanian recreational fishery for rock lobster
Lyle, JM and Tracey, S and Hartmann, K, Managing for change: the Tasmanian recreational fishery for rock lobster, Program book for the Australian Society for Fish Biology - Oceania Chondrichthyan Society Joint Conference, 04-07 September, Hobart, Tasmania (2016) [Conference Extract]
PDF (Abstract 73, ASFB-OCS Joint Conference Program Book) Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy 2Mb
Recreational fishers are highly responsive to changes in fish availability, either increasing or decreasing targeted effort and/or by switching between species. In Tasmania rock lobster support major commercial and recreational fisheries but over the past two decades stocks have undergone dramatic changes in abundance. Legal size biomass doubled between 1995 and 2005 and then almost halved over the following five years, influenced by poor recruitment. Catch rates for both sectors have declined and, for the recreational sector, levels of catch and effort have fallen as the number of active fishers and average days fished per fisher have declined.
The recreational fishery is concentrated off the east coast, a region where the stock is in poorest condition. Modelling indicates that catches need to be reduced to facilitate stock recovery and a stock rebuilding strategy has been implemented. The strategy includes a 200 tonne catch cap that is based on a notional resource sharing arrangement of 21% for the recreational sector (42 tonnes) and 79% for the commercial sector (158 tonnes). In an attempt to constrain recreational catches, east coast bag limits have been reduced and recreational season length reduced by four months. However, modelling suggests that these measures are unlikely to constrain recreational catches to the catch share. As stocks recover, recreational fishing pressure is expected to increase with the potential to impact the rate of stock rebuilding, imposing significant challenges for resource management. In this presentation we examine relationships between stock size, fisher behaviour and management of the fishery.