Nineteenth century narratives reveal historic catch rates for Australian snapper (Pagrus auratus)

Thurstan, Ruth H, Campbell, Alexander B and Pandolfi, John M 2016, Nineteenth century narratives reveal historic catch rates for Australian snapper (Pagrus auratus), Fish and fisheries, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 210-225, doi: 10.1111/faf.12103.

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Title Nineteenth century narratives reveal historic catch rates for Australian snapper (Pagrus auratus)
Formatted title Nineteenth century narratives reveal historic catch rates for Australian snapper (Pagrus auratus)
Author(s) Thurstan, Ruth HORCID iD for Thurstan, Ruth H
Campbell, Alexander B
Pandolfi, John M
Journal name Fish and fisheries
Volume number 17
Issue number 1
Start page 210
End page 225
Total pages 16
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication Chichester, Eng.
Publication date 2016-03
ISSN 1467-2960
Keyword(s) catch per unit effort
historical ecology
multiple imputation
narrative accounts
qualitative data
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Summary Snapper (Pagrus auratus) is widely distributed throughout subtropical and temperate southern oceans and forms a significant recreational and commercial fishery in Queensland, Australia. Using data from government reports, media sources, popular publications and a government fisheries survey carried out in 1910, we compiled information on individual snapper fishing trips that took place prior to the commencement of fisherywide organized data collection, from 1871 to 1939. In addition to extracting all available quantitative data, we translated qualitative information into bounded estimates and used multiple imputation to handle missing values, forming 287 records for which catch rate (snapper fisher -1 h -1) could be derived. Uncertainty was handled through a parametric maximum likelihood framework (a transformed trivariate Gaussian), which facilitated statistical comparisons between data sources. No statistically significant differences in catch rates were found among media sources and the government fisheries survey. Catch rates remained stable throughout the time series, averaging 3.75 snapper fisher -1 h -1 (95% confidence interval, 3.42–4.09) as the fishery expanded into new grounds. In comparison, a contemporary (1993–2002) south-east Queensland charter fishery produced an average catch rate of 0.4 snapper fisher -1 h -1 (95% confidence interval, 0.31–0.58). These data illustrate the productivity of a fishery during its earliest years of development and represent the earliest catch rate data globally for this species. By adopting a formalized approach to address issues common to many historical records – missing data, a lack of quantitative information and reporting bias – our analysis demonstrates the potential for historical narratives to contribute to contemporary fisheries management.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/faf.12103
Field of Research 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
070402 Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment
0602 Ecology
0704 Fisheries Sciences
Socio Economic Objective 830102 Aquaculture Fin Fish (excl. Tuna)
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
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