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Abstract

To effectively manage recreational fisheries, managers require an understanding of the drivers of recreational fisher behaviour. In this preliminary study, we explore drivers of recreational fishing site choice in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. In contrast to previous site choice studies, we investigate whether cues of fishing quality (e.g., depth and rugosity), as opposed to catch expectations can be used to explain site choices. We find that recreational fishers in NSW were more likely to visit sites with lower travel cost, greater water depths, and with fish aggregation devices (FADs). Unsurprisingly, the effect of FADs was particularly pronounced on trips targeting pelagic species. This working paper provides some preliminary evidence that cues of fishing quality could be used to explain site choices, but further research is needed particularly involving higher resolution data on habitats that are likely to be important site quality cues.

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