Understanding the human dimensions of recreational fisheries is critical to the development of effective fisheries management regulations. This study aimed to characterize Australian shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)anglers in terms of their gear use, perceptions on circle hooks, perceptions on sharks and shark conservation, and attitudes towards fisheries management. A targeted web survey was completed by 272 shortfin mako anglers distributed across southeastern Australia. Responses were compared across angler subgroups in relation to their state of residence, membership to an angling club, and tendency to release or keep captured sharks. Overall, anglers' perceptions about how their fishing behaviours and gear choices may affect the survival of released shortfin mako sharks were quite in line with existing scientific knowledge though anglers believed their behaviours have less of an impact on shark stocks than other threats such as commercial fisheries. Gear selection was determined largely by fishing preference (harvest or catch-and-release)of the angler, with those practicing catch-and-release more frequently using circle hooks. State of residence also influenced the perceptions of anglers towards sharks and shark survival as well as their attitudes towards fisheries management. Angler support for precautionary management suggests that a better understanding of the potential impacts of recreational fishing on shark stocks may assist in promoting greater accountability and responsible fishing practices amongst these resource users; however, improved communication between recreational fishers, management authorities, and fisheries scientists is a necessary precursor to this step.

Angling, Australia, Catch-and-release, Perceptions, Shortfin mako
Marine Policy
Department of Biology

French, R.P. (R. P.), Lyle, J.M. (J. M.), Twardek, W.M. (W. M.), Cooke, S.J, & Semmens, J.M. (J. M.). (2019). A characterization of Australian shortfin mako shark anglers. Marine Policy. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103550