Recreational assessment of Moreton Bay blue swimmer crab (Portunus pelagicus) fishery
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)
As part of the Strategy for Collaborative Research Programs on the bue crab (Portunus pelagicus), the need to determine recreational catches was seen as a national priority. At present we have only limited information about the recreational blue crab fishery in Queensland, (apart from widespread anecdotal reports of declining recreational catches). Should the recreational catch prove to be significant, (which is most likely) and if there are differences in the catch characteristics of commercial and recreational fisheries then management advice based soley on commercial catches may be flawed. The Queensland Fish Management Authority currently has an FRDC funded project to document recreational catch and effort using phone interviews and voluntary recreational diaries. Off-site methods such as these are known to give less precise estimates of average fish size and are more likely to be biased than "on-site" methods where face to face interviews are conducted and catches are counted and measured by creel clerks In Queensland, apart from small catches of blue crabs taken off jetties and bridges, blue crab fishing is almost exclusively a boating activity and therefore lends itself to assessment by way of on-site surveys conducted at boat ramps. The conduct of an on-site survey such as that proposed here would also help validate the results of the recreational diary program and give more precise estimates of recreational catch rates and size structure of the recreational catch than would off-site methods. It would also have the added benefit of providing validating information on a range of other recreational species. The public education properties of face to face interviews are also an advantage of on-site methods.
1. Produce an in-depth description and catalogue of the gear and technological improvements of a representative sample for the a) Torres Strait tiger prawn, b) Queensland eastern king prawn and c) south-east Queensland saucer scallop fisheries for the period 1970 to present.
2. To estimate recreational blue crab catch rates in Moreton Bay
3. To validate data collected from other programs estimating recreational catch and effort
4. Establish a standardised catch-per-unit effort series of the above fisheries.
5. Compare present Management Plan reference points with the standardised and unstandardised catch-per-unit effort series.
6. Investigate and establish robust reference points and response mechanisms through simulation modelling.
7. Disseminate results to TrawlMAC, the QFMA trawl fishery manager and fishers.