Project number: 2018-161
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $1,233,986.95
Principal Investigator: Andy (Anthony) Moore
Organisation: University of Canberra
Project start/end date: 3 Mar 2019 - 19 Jun 2021


Currently there is a lack of national scale, consistent and robust data on the motivations and behaviours of recreational fishers, and lack of robust data on the social and economic contribution of recreational fishing. Where many commercial fisheries have regular collection and estimation process for economic data, this is not the case for recreational fishing in most of Australia. This lack of data also includes behaviour and motivations and how they are changing. These data are useful for informing discussions on resource allocation and in understanding and managing recreational fisheries more generally. If these data are to be used to inform governments and the general public, there is a need to make sure it is collected in a robust way that is representative of the Australian population. Large scale representative data sets are often expensive to acquire and as a result do not get undertaken regularly. One off surveys only provide useful data for any particular point in time, but understanding trends can often be more useful. This study aims to implement and test methodologies to provide a robust and representative sample, while trying to reduce costs to allow for more regular data gathering. To do this requires addressing another need: that of testing new survey methodologies for collecting data from recreational fishers that enables assessment of social and economic contribution. Recreational fishing surveys traditionally use probability based phone or mail surveys, however both methods are experiencing rapid decline in response rates and representativeness. It is expected that going into the future, online surveys that use a range of appropriate recruitment methods will be the most common survey method. There is a need to invest in establishing robust approaches to using these methods, and in understanding how their findings differ to those of traditional probability based surveys.


1. Assess social and economic contribution of recreational fishing using multiple methods, including direct and flow-on economic benefits, and market and non-market benefits
2. Identify which approaches to recruiting survey participants and completing surveys produce the most representative and robust results
3. Recommend most appropriate and cost effective survey method to use to track change social and economic aspects of recreational fishing in Australia over time

Final report

Authors: Moore A Schirmer J Magnusson A Keller K Hinten G Galeano D Woodhams J Wright D Maloney L. Dix A.
Final Report • 2023-02-21 • 5.80 MB
2018-161-NRFS_main report_FINAL_19Feb2023.pdf


The NRFS involved three stages of data collection. An overview of the three stages of data collection and the purpose of each, and a guide summarising which chapters draw on data from each stage of data collection, are provided in the next section. Sections 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6 provide a detailed description of the methods used to collect and process data in Stages 1, 2 and 3 respectively. These sections explain, for each stage:
  • The purpose/objectives of data collection
  • Data collection methods, including design of survey instruments and survey recruitment materials, survey sample recruitment methods and sample achieved
  • Data processing methods, including data coding and cleaning, and weighting methods.

Project products

Report • 2023-06-05 • 481.14 KB


The outbreak of white spot disease, caused by white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) (Whispovirus sp.), in South-East Queensland (Qld) in 2016–17, the recognition of new and emerging diseases, and advances in scientific knowledge since the release of the Generic import risk analysis report for prawns and prawn products 2009 (the Prawn IRA; Biosecurity Australia 2009) highlighted the need to review the biosecurity risks of prawns imported into Australia (the prawn review).


The Prawn IRA 2009 considered that the regular introduction of imported prawns, intended for human consumption, into the aquatic environment, through use as bait or berley presented a significant pathway for exposure of Australian crustaceans to imported prawns potentially infected with hazards. Surveys conducted in 2002 and 2007 investigating the use of prawns, intended for human consumption, as bait or berley provided significant data inputs for the Prawn IRA 2009. There had not been national surveys conducted since that time. Therefore, it was identified that the prawn review needed current data on the use of prawns as bait or berley to ensure the conclusions were based on current information. Questions to characterise the extent of the use of prawns purchased from seafood retailers as bait and berley by recreational fishers in Australia were nested within the 2019-20 National Recreational Social and Economic Survey of Recreational Fishers (Moore et al. 2023).


Results from this survey indicate that prawns were the most popular bait used by recreational fishers over the survey period, followed by various kinds of saltwater fish and cephalopods (octopus/squid/cuttlefish). While prawns were the most popular bait type nationally, there were differences at the jurisdictional level, with recreational fishers in Western Australian, Tasmania and the Northern Territory most commonly using cephalopods, while South Australian fishers most commonly used ‘other shellfish’.


Of the respondents who reported using prawns as bait and/or berley, 85% indicated that they had bought prawns from a bait supplier, while 20% indicated that they had bought prawns from a seafood retailer (some respondents reported purchasing prawns from both sources). Uncooked whole prawns were the most common prawn type purchased from a seafood retailer, with most respondents indicating that they had purchased a total of less than 1 kg over the previous 12 months. Most fishers reported using Australian origin prawns, but some reported using imported prawns or that they were unsure of the origin of the prawns they were using as bait.


To test whether recreational fishers are aware of the risks of using imported prawns intended for human consumption as bait, the survey also asked recreational fishers if they had seen advice regarding the use of imported seafood prawns as bait and berley. Almost half of all respondents said that they had seen advice regarding the use of imported seafood prawns as bait and berley, with the highest levels of awareness in Queensland and the lowest in Victoria.

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