There currently is concern in SRL fisheries about the status of inshore stocks. Catch has declined in a number of areas, despite improvements in catch rates. For example, in Northeastern Tasmania, catch is at record lows, yet CPUE has failed to climb. Inshore stocks on western Tasmania are now receiving historically high levels of effort, due in part to change in shot rotation practices. Further, it is unclear whether the extra effort in these practices is adequately recorded in estimates of CPUE. There has been a recent increase in potting effort, commonly referred to as double night fishing, whereby fishers set and haul their pots twice a night, compared to the standard practice of emptying pots once at dusk and/or once during the day. Currently we have no data on the composition of the catch in double night shots, and what proportion of captured lobsters are handled and released, and what consequence this handling has on production from the fishery.
The specific aim of this thesis was to assess the effectiveness of individual transferable quota (ITQ) systems of management in meeting economic, ecological and social objective(s) through quantitatively analysing changing fishing practices and behaviour of fishers in the Tasmanian Southern Rocklobster (TSRL) fishery to inform management decision-making. Understanding how fishers behave and make decisions is critical in determining how best to manage fisheries. If the response of fishers to management measures can be predicted, unexpected and undesirable outcomes can be avoided.
ITQ management has been introduced in many international fisheries, with the purpose of accounting for human behaviour, as it theoretically generates behavioural incentives that are aligned with management objectives (e.g. reducing fishing costs). The ability of ITQ systems to meet continuing economic, ecological and social objectives therefore is centred on ensuring fisher behavioural incentives remain aligned with those objectives.