Resource allocation between commercial and recreational sectors in fisheries can be a contentious issue. Fisheries managers are often faced with providing advice on the difficult decision of selecting which resource user groups will benefit and which will lose from the allocation of finite resources. This means that fishery resources allocation may often be a trade-off between different resource uses where, apart from the overriding resource sustainability objective, governments typically seek to optimise the social and economic benefits.
The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation has funded research, led by John Nicholls from Economic Research Associates and assisted by Data Analysis Australia, to develop a practical socio-economic framework that can be used by fisheries managers to address this issue. Three fisheries will be investigated over the period of the contract, firstly crabs in the Cockburn Sound Fishery, and subsequently, the Perth Metropolitan Abalone Fishery and the Finfish Fishery.
The most appropriate method of gathering this type of socio-economic information was found to be surveys. Data Analysis Australia is assisting in the design of the methodology, management and implementation of the surveys and the analysis of the collated data. Data on Cockburn Sound commercial crabbing activity is being sought through a detailed survey questionnaire. The commercial survey and analysis side is being developed with the assistance of Rebecca Gordon, Business Analyst at Data Analysis Australia.