Survey Development Working Group, 2000. Development of the National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey. Final Report to Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. Project No. 98/169. (Volume 1 – 36pp + Volume 2 – attachments). NSW Fisheries Final Report Series No. 23. ISSN 1440-3544.
Non Technical Summary:
The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey (National Survey) is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments to obtain fisheries statistics to support the management of non-commercial fishing in Australia. The National Survey has been progressively developed by a Steering Committee for the past four years. A feasibility study was conducted in 1997-98 to select an appropriate survey method for Australian recreational fisheries. It recommended a national telephone screening/diary survey with on-site field surveys and separate components for visiting international fishers and certain indigenous fishing activities. Final development of the National Survey was undertaken during 1998-99 by a Working Group comprising specialist fisheries agency/consultant staff. Funding for the development phase was provided by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) (Fisheries Action Program) and State/Territory fisheries agencies.
The objective of the development phase was to advance the National Survey concept (as per the feasibility study), into working documents and sampling plans ready for implementation by the States/ Territories. This required finalisation/ refinement of the output specifications sampling design, questionnaires and other survey instruments for the three major components of the National Survey: the Recreational Fishing Survey (including On-Site Surveys); the Indigenous Fishing Survey; and the Visiting International Fisher Survey. The survey instrument was to be pilot tested on a sample of the general community and the fishing population in each State/ Territory. Key National Survey staff in each State/ Territory were to be trained in the conduct of the various survey components and database management systems, final documentation and costing for the implementation of the National Survey prepared.
To undertake this work, the Working Group adopted a transparent and inclusive approach where inputs were sought from all fisheries agencies and key stakeholders (including peak recreational and commercial fishing bodies). The nature and progress of the project were also broadly publicised to these organisations and through the fishing media. Although six formal workshops/meetings were held throughout the project to discuss and endorse progress, much of the work was necessarily conducted out-of-session. A multi-tasked approach was employed where individual members and small teams were assigned specialist tasks/responsibilities, including for particular survey components (e.g. the Indigenous Fishing Survey) and areas of technical expertise (e.g. statistician). In such cases and throughout the project generally, extensive consultation occurred within the group and externally (expert colleagues/stakeholders).
Although a complex and challenging project in many respects, the National Survey development has been a highly successful undertaking by any measure. While some minor design refinements may be required in the lead-up to the commencement of the study, the stated objectives of the project (in all but one case), have been achieved and in many cases, exceeded. Comprehensive designs have been prepared for the three major National Survey components. These designs comprise detailed output specifications, sampling plans, questionnaires and other survey instruments. The statistical design and analysis, sample allocation, estimation procedures and data aggregation methods have been developed. The sample size for each State/ Territory has been finalised and modelled to provide error estimates for effort and harvest in major fishing regions. The geographical boundaries of the survey were defined, species lists and identification cards developed and a communication strategy composed. A data management model to provide a coherent strategy to manage the diversity of recreational fishing information for access, manipulation and storage was completed.
A training course for State Managers was conducted at the Fisheries Research Institute (NSW) to familiarise staff with the survey instrument. Following a debriefing, working group members began short and long-term pilot tests of the survey instrument in each Australian State/ Territory to assess problematic data elements, respondent burden and general applicability of the method. The short term pilot test has been completed to the satisfaction of the Working Group and the long term test has been in place for seven months without difficulties. The training course and pilot tests have provided State Managers with a level of proficiency to implement the survey and an understanding of the efficacy of the survey tools.
A comprehensive collection of documents has been prepared for the implementation of the National Survey. This documentation includes screening forms, questionnaires, workload control sheets, instruction guides, interview manuals and other survey material for each major component of the National Survey, where appropriate. The Working Group developed a detailed work plan for the survey and confirmed that the final project costing was within the proposed budget. The Working Group is confident that the development phase has confirmed the suitability of this survey instrument for gathering national recreational fishing data. It is confident that the National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey will achieve its objectives and recommends that the project proceed to final implementation in the scheduled period, October 1999 – December 2001.