Project leader

Vanessa Adams

Vanessa Adams

University of Tasmania

Project collaborators

Evaluation of recreational fishing behaviour, use, values and motivations that relate to compliance


Recreational fishing is an important leisure activity that brings economic and social benefits to the Australian community. Australia’s recreational sector is the largest and most widely dispersed recreational activity that uses a natural resource.

Most recreational fishing occurs in state and territory waters, under the management of state and territory governments. In commonwealth waters, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW), Parks Australia, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) have a role in achieving relevant marine protection goals.

For management to be effective, recreational fishers must comply with rules and regulations within marine parks about where and when they are allowed to fish and with what gear. The widespread and dispersed nature of fishing activities makes enforcement difficult. Achieving self-compliance through behavioural change interventions is therefore essential to management success.

This project will provide guidance on the application of behavioural change interventions in the marine environment, with an initial emphasis on compliance of recreational fishers and boaters with marine park regulations. It will summarise what is known about recreational fishers and how they choose to fish and comply with fishing regulations, and further develop theories of change for behavioural interventions specific to case study locations. These include the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Two Rocks Marine Park and Geographe Marine Park.

Researchers will work with DCCEEW, GBRMPA, Parks Australia and recreational fishing representatives to ensure the project meets the needs of research users. They project will:

  • Synthesise behavioural change interventions available to address recreational fisher and boater compliance, and recommendations on when each intervention is appropriate;
  • Explain how behaviour change interventions are expected to achieve compliance and management goals such as threatened species conservation.
  • Apply the intervention design approach to case study areas as a proof-of-concept test/demonstration.
  • Co-design larger behaviour intervention design implementation and evaluation research plans for the case study areas.

The project builds on previous NESP funded projects that explored awareness and attitudes towards state and Commonwealth no-take marine reserves and a need among marine managers for guidance on using and monitoring behavioural change strategies.

The new knowledge will advance the design, implementation, and evaluation of behavioural interventions as part of a considered, longer-term approach to voluntary compliance with marine park regulations.

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