ENGAGING RESOURCE USERS TO IDENTIFY SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHANGES IN AUSTRALIA’S CORAL TROUT FISHERY.
Resource users provide valuable information on marine ecosystem change, but their observations and perceptions of change may differ from other sources of available monitoring data. This creates potential for conflict and may reduce the legitimacy of management measures in the eyes of resource users. Coral trout is targeted throughout the Asia-Pacific for the live finfish trade, and this market forms an economically significant fishery in Queensland, Australia. While monitoring occurs in the Queensland fishery, detailed data have only been collected over the last few decades. Through interviews with 120 commercial and recreational coral trout fishers, we assessed ecological and social changes in Queensland's coral trout fishery across a period of 60 years to inform baseline conditions and to highlight areas of contention and agreement between scientific data and resource user observations. The majority of resource users observed declines in catch rate of coral trout. These declines began several decades prior to the commencement of scientific monitoring. Recent trends in recalled catch rates corresponded to aspects of fisheries landing trends, but contrasted with ecological data. Resource users also provided information on the impact of management measures on the fishery. Our findings suggest that data from resource users can be useful for closing gaps in knowledge of long-term trends, in addition to informing fisheries management of the social and cultural context in which resource users operate, including which aspects of assessment may be contentious with resource users.
Thurstan, R. H., The University of Queensland, Australia, email@example.com
Buckley, S. M., The University of Queensland, Australia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pandolfi, J. M., The University of Queensland, Australia, email@example.com
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