Shark Bay Snapper: Science, Policy, and the Decline and Recovery of a Marine Recreational Fishery

Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 12)


Since the mid-1990s Shark Bay’s inner gulf snapper fishery has become one of the most intensively-studied and better-understood marine recreational fisheries in Australia. It provides an important case-study of the impact that recreational fishing can have on highly targeted stocks, showing that recreational fishers, by virtue of their greater numbers and their uptake of technologies developed for the commercial sector, can have an equal if not greater total catch than professional fishers in the same or similar fisheries. The Shark Bay case-study also demonstrates the complexity of the challenges associated with sustainably managing marine recreational fisheries. The effectiveness of traditional recreational management measures is increasingly being questioned. As more and more jurisdictions move towards implementing ecosystem-based management approaches, strategies to ensure sustainable harvests will be required for all sectors—commercial, recreational and artisanal alike. This chapter highlights the role that effective biological research and robust management intervention can play in assisting the recovery of a stock fished to the brink of collapse. Whilst the recovery of the inner gulf snapper stocks is continuing, it constitutes one of the few documented examples worldwide of the successful recovery of a marine recreational fishery through the promotion of sustainable, scientifically-based recreational harvest levels. The focus on ecological outcomes and other factors that contributed to the successful restoration of inner Shark Bay’s recreational snapper fishery are being recognised as essential elements in the reform of recreational fisheries management elsewhere.


Amateur fishing history Recreational fishing history Recreational fisheries management Shark Bay Pink snapper 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Asia Research CentreMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  2. 2.Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research LaboratoriesDepartment of Fisheries, Western AustraliaNorth BeachAustralia

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