Project level: PhD

Queenslanders are keen anglers. Each year more than 700,000 people fish for recreation, with anglers taking home around 8500 tonnes of fin fish, crabs and prawns. Queensland's fisheries resources are also important for tourism, attracting anglers from around Australia and the world.

The Queensland Government has conducted seven state-wide recreational fishing surveys  between 2007 and 2015. The surveys provide estimates of recreational fishing harvests by species, which is a crucial input for assessing the fishing pressure on and status of fished stocks in Queensland. This information is used to safeguard marine resources for today and tomorrow.

New statistical methodologies are required to improve the accuracy of estimates and confidence intervals between surveys. This is to include regionally focused information on recreational fishing participation rates, where and how many people fish, and what they catch.


Project statistical components include:

  • improved estimation of state-wide recreational harvests, including resampling, bootstrap and MCMC techniques
  • quantify changes in survey angler avidity and recall bias between survey years and methodologies; adjust previous survey data to obtain improved estimates
  • evaluating sampling frames - develop methods to generate state-wide harvest estimates (and associated measures of uncertainty) from several synchronous samples taken from different sampling frames (eg alicence frame and a residential telephone number list)
  • develop hierarchical and conditional mixed models for estimation of recreational fish catch and catch rates
  • investigate the statistical modelling of recreational survey data collected from multiple survey methods
  • from survey to analysis: dealing with differences in the scale survey data are collected at and the scale data are analysed at
  • wxamine appropriate estimation methods for different fish species
  • develop statistical methods for low fish abundance or recreational species caught by ‘hard-to-reach’ fishers
  • develop methods to engage and retain recreational fishers in volunteer data contribution programs.


This is a joint project with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) within the Queensland Government. A PhD funding top up of $7K per year will be offered.


Clare McGrory

James Webley (DAF)

Michael O’Neill (DAF)

George Leigh (DAF)


DAF Statewide and Regional Recreational Fishing Survey

Henry, G.W., and Lyle, J.M. (2003) The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey. New South Wales Fisheries Final Report Series 48, National Heritage Trust and Fisheries Research Development Corporation project 99/158. New South Wales Fisheries Final Report Series 48, National Heritage Trust and Fisheries Research Development Corporation project 99/158 No. FRDC Project 99/158.

Higgs, J. (2001) Recreational catch estimates for Queensland residents: RFISH Technical report 3 results from the 1999 diary round. Queensland Department of Primary Industries.

Higgs, J., Olyott, L., and McInnes, K. (2007) Experimental results from the third statewide Recreational Fishing Information System diary program (2002). Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland. No. PR 07-2707.

O'Neill, M.F., and Faddy, M.J. (2003) Use of binary and truncated negative binomial modelling in the analysis of recreational catch data. Fisheries Research 60(2-3), 471-477.

SarndalSwensson and Wretman, 1992, Model Assisted Survey Sampling, Springer Series in Statistics

Lumley, T. 2010, Complex Surveys: A guide to analysis using R, Wiley

Sampling: Design and Analysis by Sharon Lohr

Project members