Developing a positive cultural attitude towards the capture and release of sharks and rays
University of Adelaide
Paul J. Rogers
Adoption, Communities, People
Recently, PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture (PIRSA F and A) identified the need to develop a recreational fishery- and research-supported program that combines new communication strategies and evidence-based CoP development to disseminate information relevant to supporting the management of recreational fisheries for sharks and rays. The priority identified was to improve education and awareness among the recreational fishers in relation to ethical capture, handling and release practices for sharks and rays. Examples of this approach were undertaken in the United States (NOAA), Australia (TAFI and SARDI) and Hawaii (NOAA), where recreational groups have contributed to research activities to assess PRS and use the information to educate other fishers about specific issues related to fisheries for shark species. This proactive approach could be applied to shark and ray species that are priorities for management and taken as bycatch, or targeted by recreational and gamefishing anglers across southern Australia. Correspondence with research colleagues in Victoria and NSW, and fishery stakeholders, identified a need to review, improve and rationalise guidelines for capture, handling and release of sharks and rays, and highlighted data gaps for key species. A field-based quantitative study of the PRS of selected target priority species will be designed during a workshop in 2019, led by SARDI and CSIRO, with support of a linked FRDC-funded project (2018-042) in Victoria (Monash University). The overarching aim is to inform the development of capture, handling and release guidelines and CoPs for sharks and rays that apply to the range of fishing situations across southern Australia. The SARDI and Monash-based projects address region-specific needs and will co-manage the workshop (See suppl. letter). This will include engagement between government agencies, NGOs, and fishers to understand the relative susceptibilities of target species to handling, and expected impacts of gear configuration on PRS. Research outcomes of the broader project will be coupled with public and fishery feed-back strategies (e.g. expansion of a tagging program) to address the management and perception issues.
1. Facilitate a national workshop to identify priority species and operational factors to investigate during studies aimed at informing sustainable recreational fisher practices for sharks and rays.
2. Use web-supported telemetry technology, and direct engagement of recreational fishers to collect post-release survival data on the priority species within a structured case-study framework.
3. To support positive and sustainable cultural attitudes towards sharks and rays through the production of evidence-based educational material to inform sustainable recreational fisher practices.