Whilst a range of fisheries enhancement approaches have been applied in Australia, quantitative comparison between the outcomes achieved is lacking. The decision to use fisheries enhancement techniques can be heavily influenced by politics, especially in the recreational fishing sector. Despite the general results from past fishery enhancement activities appearing positive, not all approaches may deliver the best return on investment. Quantitative comparison of techniques is needed to enable decisions to be made with greater certainty and deliver the best value.
Broad uptake and application of some fisheries enhancement techniques by fisheries managers in Australia has been limited. A major constraint for fisheries managers has been the absence of clear comparative data on the costs and benefits for each approach and how they can be most effectively applied in different scenarios. Fisheries enhancement is widely practised around the world and quantitative assessments of the benefits of some techniques exist. Cost benefit analyses have also been conducted for some projects in Australia, but the results have yet to be consolidated and considered in the context of how they can be applied more broadly by fisheries managers.
Consolidating the knowledge base on fisheries enhancement methods will enable robust comparison of the return on investment of different approaches for various fisheries and assessment of their long-term viability and impacts on fishery sustainability. Such information will enable managers to more clearly identify the most appropriate techniques and potential benefits for their specific fisheries, leading to increased uptake and implementation. To assist uptake by fishery managers, a decision support tool is needed to enable managers to readily incorporate these approaches with other fishery management considerations.