Back in 2000, recreational fishers spent $1.8 billion nationally on recreational fishing-related expenditure – a significant figure. However, we don’t know how much they are spending now, and that makes it hard to communicate the true value of recreational fishing to decision makers across Australia.
It’s been 20 years since an up-to-date nationwide picture of the economic value of recreational fishing in Australia has been produced. Back in 2000, the last national survey found that there was a fisho in almost one in every four households in Australia. However, since 2000, state-level surveys indicate more women are fishing, and that spending on fishing is likely to have changed a lot.
Since 2000, it’s also been recognised that fishing has many social benefits. Recreational fishing has been found to support wellbeing through increasing people’s connections with family and friends and with nature. Fishing can be both relaxing and challenging – and both these things can be positive for our wellbeing! Doing things that provide a challenge helps people increase their confidence in being able to overcome difficulty and achieve what they want to, while getting away from the everyday grind is critical for mental health. However, while rec’ fishers know about these benefits on a personal level, and there are lots of studies that demonstrate the social benefits of recreational fishing on a small scale, to guide decision-making there’s a need for a nationwide picture that shows the extent and types of social benefits generated by fishing.
You can help generate up-to-date information that ensures the full social and economic benefits of recreational fishing are recorded and communicated to decision makers across Australia. Participate in the National Rec Fishing Survey at nationalrecsurvey.com.au by 14 February 2020. After 14 February you can still participate in smaller surveys that will be advertised on the website. By doing so, you can help researchers at the University of Canberra and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences provide a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of recreational fishing in Australia.
Whether you fish once a year or every day of the year, it’s important your voice is heard in the survey! And by the way – those who participate in the survey by 14 February 2020 get to enter a draw for one of several prizes worth a total of $6,000; after February there will be monthly short surveys with smaller prize draws as the researchers examine the different benefits of fishing in more detail.
Show your support for recreational fishing in Australia by giving your time to take part – and stay tuned for results of the survey in future editions of this magazine!