Inland Fishing regions hook a big money spinner
  |  First Published: October 2005

A Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and Central Queensland University joint study has shown that stocked freshwater fisheries can provide a significant injection of funds to their local communities.

The results from the recently completed joint study have just been published and are available for interested communities and groups.

Associate Professor John Rolfe of the Faculty of Business and Law of Central Queensland University (CQU) Rockhampton said that while the diverse locations and fisheries studied in the project demonstrated quite different results, each brought a significant economic boost to their local region.

DPI&F extension officer, Rod Cheetham, said that by working with the local stocking groups in the South Burnett, the project report clearly showed the hard work these people do is paying off to their communities.

“The report should encourage other Queensland groups to keep up their efforts and also inform local authorities that with correct infrastructure, planning and development, economic benefits from recreational fishing are obtainable.

“Over $2 million is directly brought into the South Burnett region annually by having viable stocked fisheries at Boondooma and Bjelke-Petersen dams, while visitors to Fairbairn Dam and the valuable redclaw fishery there spend over $1 million,” he said.

Boondooma and Bjelke-Petersen dams are situated about three hours drive north west of Brisbane near Wondai and Murgon and are well known for excellent Australian bass and golden perch fishing.

Fairbairn Dam near Emerald is well known throughout the country for the redclaw crayfish that are easily trapped there.

Associate professor Rolfe said the research was conducted by collecting information about the expenditure of people who have travelled to the dams to go fishing.

“From the data collected we were able to calculate the total expenditure in the regional areas as well as the total value of the fishing experience. The Fairbairn Dam seems to produce the highest value, mainly because people spent more money to get there and stayed longer,” he said.

One factor that came to light was that the value of fishing at Bjekle-Petersen and Boondooma dams is dominated by repeat anglers – those who go fishing there more than once a year. In contrast, the value of fishing at the Fairbairn Dam is dominated by the tourist market – people who are only going to visit there once.

Economists working on the project also calculated a ‘recreational value’ that gave a dollar amount to the actual experience over and above the amount that fishers and campers spent to get there.

Mr Cheetham said the joint project had combined the expertise of two agencies, with the local knowledge of workers in each of the areas, resulting in a report that can provide detailed information for communities wishing to plan sustainable recreational fisheries in the future.

“It is hoped that this information can be used to further plan and expand the already popular stocked impoundment fisheries throughout the whole of Queensland,” Mr Cheetham said.

Copies of the report can be obtained by contacting the DPI&F call centre on 13 25 23. – DPI&F

Mr Les Kowitz interviews anglers at Bjelke-Petersen dam during a year-long analysis of the economic impact of a successful stocked fishery.

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