This study documents the needs and concerns of fishers and their families in Queensland coastal regions to expand the corpus of knowledge about fishing as an industry, for the sake of informing government of social impacts, and to incorporate local social considerations into current and future management plans. The study focuses on how fisheries policies impact on fishers and their families socially and culturally, and how these groups negotiate and respond to political, market and ecologically driven management measures. It is significant as it brings together important but little researched aspects of the impact of management decisions on fishers, families and communities. Research is crucial to understand the social legacy of those decisions on the social wellbeing of fishing communities, including the health and quality of life of fishers, families, and those involved in fisheries-related businesses.
Understanding the social costs of policy decisions can help mitigate harmful physical and mental health outcomes, a situation of critical significance to rural, state and national economies. Fishing families and communities are important; they provide substantial regional employment and income to local economies; they underpin the social fabric of many coastal regions which display a strong fishing cultural heritage and are substantial contributors to the social and economic viability of rural communities. However, their ability to weather the social and economic stressors of closures, especially at times of increasing global fisheries pressures, has received limited attention. Few studies have been conducted on the way fishers and their families perceive and value their status as fishers, and how their worldview influences their quality of life, social wellbeing, and their attitudes towards place and the marine environment. Our findings will be of direct use to policy developers in adopting intrinsic measures for social impact assessment, and in integrating local knowledge into future social impact assessments.