Selecting from the Fisheries Managers’ Tool-Box: Recreational Fishers’ Views of Stock Enhancement and Other Management Options
As recreational fishers act relatively autonomously, management relies heavily on voluntary compliance. Therefore, understanding fishers’ views on management options can be beneficial. This study used a two-phase approach of face-to-face interviews and subsequent online questionnaires to evaluate recreational fishers’ salient views on issues affecting the Blue Swimmer Crab (Portunus armatus) and Black Bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri) fisheries in Western Australia as well as current and potential management arrangements, including stock enhancement. The strength and heterogeneity of views were also determined. Minimum size limits were mainly considered acceptable or very acceptable, with restricting recreational fishing and spatial closures the least supported management options for both species, in addition to maximum size limits for crabs. These views were not always consistent across fishing locations for each species and among types of crab fishers, indicating heterogeneity in views. Stocking was the most acceptable of the management measures not already utilised for crabs and among the most popular for bream fisheries. Recreational fishers of both species believed stock enhancement could have strong positive outcomes for the abundance of their target species and increase their subsequent catches. They also recognized that some negative outcomes, e.g., increased fishing pressure and environmental issues, might occur but considered them unlikely.
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