Recreational rock lobster catch reporting so far

The close of the Eastern Region at the end of April signals the end of rock lobster fishing for many fishers. It also presents a good opportunity to look at the results from catch reporting so far.

Mandatory recreational catch reporting has been in place since 2 December last year. Here’s what we’ve learned, and what you’ve told us about your catch reporting experiences through our season wrap-up survey.

Key statistics

From the 2 December to 30 April:

  • Over 33,000 reports were received.

  • 93% of reports were via the Fishing Tas App, and 7% were via telephone reporting.

  • The south-east and east coast had the most catch reports, but app-based catch reports were received from all around the state.

 

Map showing app-based catch reports as of 15 May 2024. 

Map showing number of app-based catch reports around the state as of 15 May 2024.

Estimating catch reporting rate

Early evaluation of catch reports, information from compliance checks and comparison with fishery data from last year’s catch survey indicate catch reporting rates are less than 50%. Through our season wrap-up survey, fishers estimated reporting rates for themselves and others to be around 70%.

Catch reporting is a new system for everybody, so this outcome is not unexpected. Both numbers show there’s room for improvement before we rely on catch reporting data to accurately measure recreational rock lobster catch.

Identifying barriers to catch reporting

Feedback from fishers through the season wrap-up survey, face-to-face conversations, emails, and phone calls offer insight about what might be contributing to lower reporting rates. 

Barriers to catch reporting identified by fishers included:

  • Technical issues when reporting;
  • Fishers misunderstanding the requirements (e.g. not knowing they had to complete a catch report even when they caught nothing);
  • Fishers forgetting to report catch; and
  • Fishers choosing not to report their catch.

Fishers most commonly indicated they failed to report either because they forgot (34%) or because they had an issue with the app or telephone reporting (34%). However, when asked why they thought other fishers might not report their catch, 56% indicated they thought it was because fishers didn’t want to.

If you or someone you know has experienced a problem when using the app that hasn’t been resolved, please email details of your problem to fishingapp.feedback@nre.tas.gov.au.


Other feedback included issues with reception, requests to simplify the reporting process, and concerns about levels of compliance and the overarching suitability of mandatory catch reporting.

Thank you to all the fishers that took the time to fill out our survey. Your feedback helps us learn how we can make catch reporting better, reporting rates higher and the data quality better.

Next steps

Although catch reporting is mandatory, it is a new process for everyone. The focus this season has been on educating fishers and establishing systems, rather than hard enforcement.

To get the best quality data from catch reporting, we need to understand more about the rate of reporting and how we can improve it. We will continue to work with fishers, TARFish, IMAS and Tasmania Police to improve the rate of reporting through a combination of education, enforcement and stewardship.

In the meantime, catch estimates from the IMAS telephone diary survey will still be used in the rock lobster fishery assessment until we capture the full rock lobster fishing season and are confident that most recreational fishers are reporting their catch.

How will the reporting data be used?

As catch reporting data improves, the real-time, more detailed information it provides will bring lots of benefits to the fishery and recreational fishers, including:

  • Providing cost efficient and timely information about recreational catch,
  • Allowing IMAS to produce more accurate stock assessments to inform sustainable fishery management,
  • Identifying important areas for recreational fishing so they can be appropriately valued in future management,
  • Providing better data to support initiatives that improve fishing experience, like rock lobster translocation, and
  • Ensuring recreational catch is adequately measured and represented in any future catch sharing discussions.


Published on: 6/25/2024

Hotline

Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

0427 655 557

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Contact us

Recreational Fishing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647

Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fisheries

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fisheries Licensing

Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

Email: fishing.licensing@nre.tas.gov.au