Project number: 2019-021
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $444,676.00
Principal Investigator: Ashley Fowler
Organisation: NSW Department of Primary Industries
Project start/end date: 31 Oct 2019 - 31 Oct 2023


Integration of recreational fishing (RF) into harvest strategies (HS) is necessary for many fisheries in Australia, to account for catches that can equal or exceed commercial catch for some key species and to address biological and experiential objectives of the RF sector. Both the Productivity Commission’s report Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture (2016) and the ICES Report from the Working Group Recreational Fishing Surveys (2018) recommend formal integration of RF into stock assessments and harvest strategies. Failure to do so puts sustainable management goals and legislated state and Commonwealth fisheries requirements at risk.

Equitable and quantitative inclusion of RF in harvest strategies is rare. This stems from a traditional focus on the commercial sector and budgetary challenges involved with representatively sampling RF. It is therefore unclear: 1) what types of RF data and monitoring best service stock assessments, (2) which data also track indicators of recreational objectives (often related to the fishing experience), and (3) how to integrate harvest strategy components for multiple sectors. The need to address these knowledge gaps was highlighted by the FRDC priority research call in 2018 - “Integrating recreational fishery data into harvest strategies for multi-sector fisheries in New South Wales”. NSW provides an important test case for addressing issues around RF integration that are faced by most jurisdictions.

Harvest strategy development for multi-sector fisheries requires a transparent and defensible process due to complexities in addressing diverse objectives and apprehension among stakeholder groups. Structured workshops that use easily-understandable, interactive decision support tools and involve independent experts and stakeholder representatives are likely to provide best outcomes. ‘FishPath’ is a leading harvest strategy decision support tool and “bottom up” engagement philosophy that allows experts and stakeholders to interactively contribute to harvest strategy development in a transparent workshop setting. However, it requires additional development in recreational and multi-sector contexts.


1. Obtain information on recreational fishing objectives and facilitate improved understanding among recreational fishers of the role of harvest strategies.
2. Identify types of recreational fishing data and monitoring that provide reliable measures of both the biological and experiential performance of fished populations.
3. Interrogate and extend the FishPath decision support software tool to better characterise and integrate recreational fishing information into harvest strategy development for multi-sector fisheries.
4. Develop guidelines and recommendations for the integration of recreational fishing information into harvest strategies for multi-sector fisheries.
5. Develop draft harvest strategies for key multi-sector fisheries using outcomes from Objectives 1-4.


Authors: Fowler AM Chick RC Bolton P Folpp H Harnwell J Lowry M Lyle JM Lynch TP McIlgorm A Nichols R Ochwada-Doyle FA Pepperell J Dowling NA.
Report • 2021-12-15 • 990.17 KB
2019-021 NSW Recreational Fishing Workshops_FRDC interim report_final.pdf


This interim report provides an update on workshops with recreational fishers, scientists and managers to investigate recreational fishing objectives for three stocks of recreational importance in NSW – Mulloway, Yellowtail Kingfish, and Snapper. The study forms part of a broader research project investigating the integration of recreational fishing into harvest strategies for multi-sector fisheries.

Related research