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Coral Reefs

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 85–95 | Cite as

A quantitative comparison of recreational spearfishing and linefishing on the Great Barrier Reef: implications for management of multi-sector coral reef fisheries

  • A. J. Frisch
  • R. Baker
  • J-P. A. Hobbs
  • L. Nankervis
Report

Abstract

This study compared the catch composition, catch per unit effort, and incidental impacts of spearfishers and linefishers engaged in a structured fishing program whereby fishing effort was standardized across time, space and skill level. It was found that (1) the catch composition of both groups of fishers overlapped considerably, (2) the numbers of target fish caught by spearfishers (156) and linefishers (168) were not significantly different, (3) the mean size of target fish caught by spearfishers (1.95 ± 0.1 kg, ±SE) was significantly larger than the mean size of target fish caught by linefishers (1.27 ± 0.06 kg), and (4) spearfishers retained 43% more biomass of target species than did linefishers (304 versus 213 kg, respectively). However, linefishers used ∼1 kg of bait for every 3 kg of target fish that were captured. Linefishers also caught far more undersized, undesirable, or protected fishes (i.e., bycatch) and caused far more pollution (i.e., lost gear) than did spearfishers. It is concluded that the overall impacts of recreational spearfishing and linefishing on fishery resources of the Great Barrier Reef are broadly equivalent (per unit of fishing effort), and that management regulations should be applied equitably across both fishing sectors. A management strategy of this type will simplify enforcement of fisheries regulations and avoid discrimination of particular fishers in local communities where both fishing methods are socially or culturally important.

Keywords

Spearfishing Linefishing Catch per unit effort Selectivity Coral trout Bycatch 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful for the numerous fishers who participated in this study. Thanks are also due to the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries for providing financial support. James Cook University provided logistical assistance and John Frisch, Adam Smith and David Welch provided valuable comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. Katherine Munkres assisted with preparation of the figures and Mark McCormick provided statistical advice. This research was conducted with permission from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Permit no. G05/15590.1).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Frisch
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Baker
    • 1
    • 3
  • J-P. A. Hobbs
    • 1
    • 2
  • L. Nankervis
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.NOAA FisheriesSEFSC Galveston LaboratoryGalvestonUSA

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