Project number: 2019-078
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $342,500.00
Principal Investigator: Sophie Clayton
Organisation: Currie Communications
Project start/end date: 31 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2022


Snapper and pearl perch are depleted in Queensland and further reduction in fishing pressure is needed to rebuild stocks back to target levels. The Queensland Government announced actions to improve stocks on 1 Sep 2019 , which followed the announcement that they would also introduce Fishing Aggregation Devices (FADs). Given previous regulatory approaches have been unsuccessful in improving stocks of both species, it is proposed that regulatory changes, complemented by the implementation of action mapping and social marketing, may be more effective.

Social marketing delivers innovative solutions that people value and that support desired outcomes. It draws on behavioural science and a psychology-based understanding of how and why people behave, what motivates them to change and what prevents behaviour change. Work in Australia has documented the use of behavioural incentives to encourage voluntary compliance of recreational fishers as well as testing social norms as a tool to encourage compliance within an experimental recreational fishery setting. This work sets a foundation to apply the approach to Queensland recreational fishing.

The Queensland Government’s announcement that it will invest $1 million in FADs offers an opportunity to change recreational harvesting behaviour. FADs can attract pelagic species increasing the diversity of fish species recreational anglers can target and therefore could shift fishing effort away from more vulnerable demersal species (e.g. snapper and pearl perch).

This project will use a social marketing approach that initially focuses on understanding if and how recreational fishers can be motivated and moved to use FADs as a strategy to reduce snapper and pearl perch fishing. This project will also consider a full range of strategies and behaviours and their relative potential to help reduce snapper and pearl perch recreational harvests.

A key challenge in addressing the issue is the numerous and diverse stakeholders with an interest in recreational fishing – many with conflicting agendas. Approaches that engage a broad cross-section of stakeholders together can identify priorities for action and generate solutions to achieve the outcomes sought.


1. Engage with stakeholders to develop a shared sense of responsibility, capture knowledge and identify potential solutions.
2. Develop and test a behaviour change program targeted at recreational fishers that aims to reduce the recreational harvest of snapper and pearl perch in Queensland.
3. Identify the most effective behaviour change interventions that could be further rolled out in Queensland or in other states or to target other fish.
4. Share knowledge and ownership of a behaviour change approach with key stakeholders.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-646-85521-9
Authors: Sophie Clayton Mark Paterson Mietta Adams Sharyn Rundle-Thiele Carina Roemer Samuel Williams Chad Lunow Danielle Jones Mary Mackay
Final Report • 2022-07-18 • 2.44 MB


The ‘Fishing for Change’ project used a social marketing approach that engaged stakeholders to codesign, implement and evaluate solutions to voluntarily change people’s recreational fishing behaviour.

Related research


National Snapper Workshop - Rebuilding our iconic Snapper stocks

1. To identify key issues and challenges for Snapper, review Snapper research, and critique jurisdictional management arrangements.
Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA)