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Title:

Recreational fishing and human wellbeing: insights from existing data and development of best practice approaches to future measurement

Project Number:

2018-095

Organisation:

University of Canberra

Principal Investigator:

Jacki Schirmer

Project Status:

Current

FRDC Expenditure:

$46,000.00

Program(s):

Communities, People

Need

This project is needed as there are knowledge gaps about the effect of recreational fishing on the health and wellbeing of recreational fishers. Recent years have seen many claims about the health and wellbeing benefits of recreational fishing, as well as growing interest in nature connection and outdoor recreation as wellbeing interventions more generally. Measuring and valuing the wellbeing benefits of recreational fishing is not currently possible due to a lack of evidence, and limited methods for monitoring, measuring and reporting wellbeing effects. The FRDC’s RD&E Plan 2015-20 aims by 2020 to have robust community net benefit metrics that enable measurement of the benefits of fishing. This project will develop robust metrics related to health and wellbeing benefits of recreational fishing. Achieving this requires better understanding both (i) whether and under what circumstances engaging in recreational fishing has measurable impacts on health and wellbeing, and (ii) how to measure these benefits to produce readily accessible and understandable metrics. This will help achieve the FRDC’s national research strategy deliverable ‘Social contribution is supported by the fishing and aquaculture sector so it can capture the non-monetary value of activities across sectors.’ This work will also contribute to national science and research priorities in the health field, specifically the priority ‘Build healthy and resilient communities throughout Australia by developing … preventative strategies to improve physical and mental well-being’ (http://www.science.gov.au/scienceGov/ScienceAndResearchPriorities/Pages/Health.aspx). Nationally, this research priority aims to develop strategies for supporting wellbeing. This project contributes by identifying the role recreational fishing can play in building healthy and resilient communities through supporting physical and mental wellbeing. This research will also contribute to the overarching aims of Australia’s rural research, development and extension strategy, which include ‘develop a range of technologies and knowledge to contribute to healthy Australian lifestyles’ (http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/ag-food/innovation2/nsrrdip-investment-plan1.pdf)

Objectives

1. Understand whether engaging in recreational fishing (or in particular types or frequency of fishing) is associated with improved health and wellbeing for individual recreational fishers using available datasets

2. Identify best practice methods for establishing a causal relationship between (i) engaging in fishing and (ii) health and wellbeing outcomes for individual recreational fishers

3. Produce proposed set of measures and associated methodology that can be used to robustly measure causal association between engaging in fishing and health & wellbeing for individual recreational fishers and that can be used to provide valuation of these benefits for the broader economy