Boat ramp survey program

Fisheries Queensland has a long history of working with recreational fishers to collect important information that directly contributes to the sustainable management of Queensland’s fisheries. Fisheries Queensland has undertaken boat ramp surveys to collect fishing information from recreational fishers across Queensland for more than 12 years.

The aim of the boat ramp survey (BRS) program is to routinely collect scientifically robust information to monitor trends in indices of catch, effort and the value of recreational fishing through time. The program is not able to provide estimates of total recreational fishing harvest, effort or value, either regionally or statewide.

Survey design

The BRS program collects information from recreational fishers at boat ramps when they return from a fishing trip. From November 2015 the BRS program progressively expanded to include more than 48 ramps in 15 regions across Queensland (Figure 1). The survey design was reviewed in 2018 and some minor changes commenced in January 2019.

Surveys are conducted at each ramp 5 times a month with 3 weekdays and 2 weekend shifts. Survey shifts are 4 hours in length starting at 9am or 12pm. Time of day and day of week are randomly allocated within a month for each ramp with severe weather days not surveyed. More than 2,900 surveys are conducted statewide each year.


When a recreational fisher returns to the boat ramp, our staff ask them a few questions about their fishing trip with an interview lasting up to 10 minutes. These questions include where and how they fished, how long they fished for and their usual place of residence.

Staff also record data on 41 different species of fish and crustaceans. They record the number of each of these species that are kept or released. They also measure the length of 36 of these species. The number of non-fishing boats that return to the ramp and those that refused to be interviewed are also recorded.

Data use

The BRS data are used to generate indices of fishing activity that can be used to monitor for changes in effort, catch rate or the value of recreational fishing over time. Several years of data are required to detect changes and account for seasonal changes and other influences such as rainfall, cyclones and droughts. Fisheries Queensland will be able to observe trends in recreational fishing activity over successive years. Over time, the data will help us understand the performance of the fishery and detect any underlying changes that are happening in the fishery. The BRS information together with other recreational, commercial, charter, biological, social and economic information contributes to the sustainable management of Queensland’s fishery resources (Figure 2).

2018 summary statistics for each boat ramp

If you need assistance to read or interpret the ramp survey summaries please contact Fishery Monitoring on