Statewide recreational survey findings

The 2013/14 state wide recreational fishing survey had two main phases. The first phase collected information about the number of fishers in Queensland and their characteristics, such as their age group and where they live. The second phase recorded the fishing activities of more than 5 000 people from Queensland recreational fishing households in the 12 months to October 2014.

To allow regional comparisons with previous surveys Queensland has been divided into 9 main residential regions. However, this survey has an enhanced regional focus and these 9 main regions have been split into a total of 16 sub-regions as shown on the Map of Residential Regions.

Recreational fishing is a popular recreational activity

Recreational fishing continues to be a popular outdoor activity in Queensland. Approximately 642,000 or 15% of Queenslanders aged 5 years or more went recreational fishing in Queensland in the 12 months prior to November 2013. It's more popular than sports and physical recreational activities such as cycling (7.5%), tennis (3.3%) and golf (4.4%) (Australian Bureau of Statistics publication 4177).

Regional trends

Many people enjoy the abundant marine and freshwater fishing experiences on offer across the state. More than a half of Queensland's recreational fishers (approx. 350,000) live in South East Queensland.

However, the highest participation rates were seen in the north of the state with the top areas being Mackay Hinterland (30%), Far North Hinterland (28%), Northern Hinterland (26%) and the Fitzroy Hinterland (26%) sub-regions. The lowest participation rates were seen in the more urbanised sub-regions such as the Gold Coast (9%) and Brisbane (12%).

Trends through time: 2000, 2010 and 2013

Fisheries Queensland has used the current method to monitor recreational fishing activity in 2000, 2010 and 2013, a period spanning thirteen years. Whilst recreational fishing in Queensland is popular the recreational fishing participation rate has declined slightly from 17% to 15% since the last survey in 2010.

Participation by age

Of the 5 age groups we examined, the 5 to 14 year olds have the largest participation rate followed by the 30 to 44 year olds. This may be a reflection of the family nature of recreational fishing.

Fishing activity

During the 12 months between November 2013 and October 2014, Queensland residents fished for approximately 2.5 million days in Queensland, similar to the effort in the 2010–11 survey. Fishing with a line was the most popular method and around half of all effort was shore based (the other half was boat based).

Residents living in the Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay-Burnett regions were responsible for nearly 56% of all fishing effort. Fishers did travel away from their local area to fish, but most fished close to where they lived.

Resident recreational fishers captured a diverse range of teleosts (bony fishes) and elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays). Yellowfin bream was the most commonly caught fish, with 1 156 000 caught. Whiting were the next most commonly caught fish, with 1 090 000 sand whiting complex and 679 000 trumpeter whiting caught. Flathead also formed a considerable part of the total catch, with approximately 412 000 fish caught, of which 85% were dusky flathead (352 000 fish).

Other commonly caught species were dart (352 000 fish), barred javelin (329 000 fish), pikey bream (234 000 fish), snapper (203 000 fish) and barramundi (174 000 fish). Large numbers of freshwater fish were also caught, with Australian bass (171 000 fish) and golden perch (146 000 fish) being the most common.

The recreational catch also included large numbers of non-fish species, such as crustaceans (e.g. crabs), cephalopods (e.g. squid) and other taxa. Mud crabs were the most commonly caught non-fish species, with 1.7 million estimated to have been caught.

Thank you recreational fishers

These estimates are derived from a survey supported by peak stakeholder groups. This information can help the recreational fishing industry and will assist in the sustainable management of our fisheries now and in the future.

This information would not be available without the honest and thoughtful participation in these surveys by Queensland's recreational fishers.

Further information