Statewide recreational fishing surveys

Understanding the catch and effort and participation rate of recreational fishers is an important part of sustainably managing Queensland's fisheries. Queensland’s fisheries resources are shared among recreational fishers, commercial fishers, charter operators and people practicing traditional Indigenous fishing. This statewide recreational fishing survey is part of Fisheries Queensland’s monitoring program which collects recreational fishing information.

The statewide recreational fishing survey series commenced in 1997 and provides recreational fishing catch and effort information necessary to safeguard marine resources for tomorrow.

Initial results of the 2019–20 survey

The initial phase of the survey provides estimates of the number of Queensland residents who go fishing in Queensland:

  • Almost 943,000 Queenslanders went recreational fishing in Queensland in 2019.
  • Recreational fishing’s popularity has increased amongst Queensland residents 5 years or older from 15% in 2013 to nearly 19% in 2019.
  • Most of Queensland’s regions had increasing participation rates, particularly the Gold Coast which increased from 8.8% in 2013 to 13.3% in 2019, a change of 51%.
  • The further north you go the more popular recreational fishing becomes. Mackay Hinterland (over 38%), Far North Hinterland (over 36%) and Northern Hinterland (nearly 34%) have the highest rates for fishing participation of any region of the state.
  • Queensland’s recreational fishers are becoming younger. The percentage of fishers aged less than 14 increased from 20.4% in 2013 to 23.4% in 2019 and those aged 45 years or more decreased from 32.1% in 2013 to 29.9% in 2019.

Table: Estimates of recreational fishers by regions (2013 and 2019)

Regional trends in recreational fishing20132019
Number of
fishers
Participation
rate
Number of
fishers
Participation
rate
Gold Coast 41,700 8.8% 81,300 13.3%
Brisbane 235,800 11.9% 334,100 14.1%
Sunshine Coast 59,400 18.3% 75,200 20.2%
West Moreton 16,700 18.5% 20,600 21.6%
Wide Bay-Burnett 51,700 19.7% 76,300 24.7%
Darling Downs 33,000 15.2% 49,000 19.0%
Central West/SW/NW 12,200 18.3% 19,800 28.7%
Gladstone 12,100 22.6% 22,000 33.2%
Rockhampton 22,500 20.6% 35,300 28.4%
Fitzroy Hinterland 11,600 26.2% 11,500 24.7%
Mackay-Whitsunday 34,100 24.8% 50,300 34.4%
Mackay Hinterland 7,600 30.0% 13,800 38.4%
Townsville 36,100 21.3% 42,500 21.2%
Northern Hinterland 11,000 25.7% 15,300 33.8%
Cairns 26,300 19.0% 49,200 29.9%
Far North Hinterland 30,000 27.5% 46,500 36.4%
Queensland641,800 15.1% 942,700 18.7%

For more information on the data collection methods used by the Social Research Centre during the initial phase of the 2019–20 survey, refer to their Statewide recreational fishing survey 2019–20 screening survey technical report (PDF, 1.4MB).

About the 2019–20 survey

The latest statewide recreational fishing survey started on 29 April 2019, and will continue for 12 months until 28 April 2020. This survey builds on the previous 2013–14 survey and is the eighth in the series.

The information recreational fishers provide is confidential and is aggregated and weighted to provide statewide and regional information about:

  • recreational fishing participation rates and the number of Queenslanders who go fishing
  • where and how Queenslanders go recreational fishing
  • which species, and how many of those species, Queenslanders catch and release
  • fishing-related expenditure (to help us understand the economics of recreational fishing).

About the program

Research methods

The 2019–20 statewide recreational fishing survey is being conducted by the Social Research Centre (SCR), a subsidiary of the Australian National University. The SRC is a respected research organisation with recreational fishing survey experience.

Initial contact phase

The SRC contacted more than 8,500 households across Queensland via landline and mobile numbers between February and April 2019. During this initial contact, recipients were asked if they fished recreationally in the last 12 months and intended to fish recreationally in the next 12 months.

Households that intended to fish were invited to take part in the 12-month recreational fishing activity logbook phase.

If the SRC contacted you, we thank you for your cooperation in answering their questions and taking part in the initial part of this important survey.

Logbook phase

More than 2,500 recreational fishing households have been sent a welcome pack and invited to take part in the 12-month recreational fishing activity logbook phase. During this phase, participating fishers are asked to record their fishing activity and expenditure shortly after they go fishing, either by a phone call from our interviewers, or logging the activity via the online survey portal.

The survey has been refined over the years and participation is easy. People who participated in previous surveys found it interesting and fulfilling to contribute to important research that helps to sustainably manage Queensland’s fisheries.

Results from 2010–11 and 2013–14 surveys

For more information and detailed results for the 2010–11 and 2013–14 statewide recreational fishing surveys please click on the links below

Further information

Contact our Customer Service Centre