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Assessing the effectiveness of artificial reefs and FADs in creating recreational opportunities for Tasmania’s recreational fishers

The 2018 Tasmanian state Election Commitment ‘Taking Recreational Fishing and Boating to the Next Level’ has provided $1.0M over the next two years to install artificial reefs in Tasmania. There is also an addition $450K for the installation and management of Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs). Both projects aim to provide new fishing opportunities for recreational and sport fishers (total $1.45M) and are aligned with the current development of the Tasmanian Recreational Sea Fishing Strategy – a 10 year strategic plan to address longstanding issues and maximise new opportunities. In Outcome 3 of the Strategy 'Making it easier for people to go fishing’, infrastructure projects to enhance fishing opportunities such as artificial reefs and FADs are identified as a priority.

Marine and Safety Authority Tasmania (MAST) has been tasked with implementing these Election Commitments on behalf of the Government, and Marine Solutions has completed feasibility assessments, including site selection, for the installation of both the artificial reefs and FAD: www.mast.tas.gov.au/artificial-reefs-and-fish-aggregation-devices-fads-in-tasmania. Marine Solutions is currently seeking government permits for two artificial reefs and five FADs in Tasmania, and installation will likely be open for tender in mid-2021. It is expected that installation at all sites will be completed towards the end of 2021. Upon completion, all equipment ownership and ongoing management will be transferred to Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE).

Currently, there is no pathway to determine the direct and in-direct benefits these resources may have for the recreational fishery and other multi-sector users. This includes the role these resources play for Tasmania's unique fish fauna, and their specific habitat and nursery requirements. It is vital that we invest into measuring these contributions to, ultimately, determine value and potential "success". Information can be used for ongoing management to ensure long-term benefits are maximised.

This project is endorsed by RecFAC & will be carried out in collaboration with the recreational fishery (TARFish), MAST and DPIPWE.

  1. Measure the contribution of artificial reefs to recruitment of target species, especially scalefish.
  2. Quantify the potential contribution of FADs to recreational fishing opportunity for Tasmanian species in terms of catch contribution and numbers of fishers able to benefit.
  3. Refine artificial reefs and FADs deployment design with regard to the unique suite of species present in Tasmania and their specific nursery and habitat requirements.
  4. Determine feasibility and value for further deployments using a cost-benefit framework.

Project date

31 Dec 2021-30 Dec 2023
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Principal investigator

Sarah C. Ugalde

Research organisation

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

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