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Postgraduate scholarships offered to study the effects of recreational fishing

Friday, 16 September 2011

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ECU and the Department of Fisheries are offering two PhD scholarships to support a major study into recreational fishing in WA.

Recreational fishing is a popular activity in Western Australia, where over 30 per cent of the population fish recreationally and contribute more than $570 million a year to the State's economy.

A large research program to estimate recreational boat-based catch and effort has been established by the Department of Fisheries, with Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and RecFishWest as collaborators. Projects within that program include a broad-scale phone survey, and finer scale onsite and video camera surveys at boat-ramps.

Each scholarship will begin in 2012 and will have an annual tax-exempt stipend of $AU25,000 over three years. The successful applicants will also be able to regularly apply for additional funding through the school’s postgraduate funding scheme.

PhD scholarship 1 –Spatial modeling

The phone survey carried out in 2011 has collected data on fishing activity throughout WA. For each fishing event, the information collected includes the fishing location, target species and number of fish caught.

The aim of this project is to provide a spatial analysis of the fishing patterns and the spatial distribution of key species targeted to inform recreational fisheries management. In addition, temporal aspects of catch and fishing effort will be analysed. The student will explore appropriate statistical and modeling methods required for the production of the spatiotemporal data from the survey information.

The successful student will need a solid background in statistical analysis and competency in statistical computing packages such as R. Prior knowledge of spatial statistical techniques would be an advantage.

PhD scholarship 2 – Spatial resolution

Phone-diary and boat-ramp surveys collect data at varying spatial and temporal scales, yet fishing activities are confined to anglers’ preferences for certain fishing locations. The student will explore appropriate statistical and modeling methods required to integrate the data collected at the different spatiotemporal scales from the current surveys.

This project aims to determine whether the resulting integrated data can provide the information at the spatiotemporal resolution required for management of recreational fisheries. The study will initially use existing data, and then develop approaches that will inform future surveys and management.

The successful student will need a solid background in fisheries science or equivalent as well as quantitative statistical or modeling skills.

For more information on both scholarships, contact Associate Professor Ute Mueller or Associate Professor Glenn Hyndes.

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