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Indirect Consequences of Recreational Fishing in Freshwater Ecosystems: An Exploration from an Australian Perspective

School of Health and Science, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, South Penrith Distribution Centre, Penrith 2751, Australia
Academic Editor: Iain Gordon
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020280
Received: 17 November 2016 / Revised: 30 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 16 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wildlife Management)
Recreational fishing in freshwater ecosystems is a popular pastime in Australia. Although most native fish are endemic, the fauna is depauperate compared to any landmass of similar size. With commercial fishing no longer a major industry in the country’s freshwaters, the future sustainability of these ecosystems will depend heavily on the actions of recreational fishers. However, there has been limited focus on the consequences of recreational fishing in freshwaters. There is particularly a dearth of information on the indirect consequences of fishers on the waterbodies they depend on for their sport. After outlining the respective trends in commercial and recreational fishing in Australia as a basis for placing the sport in context, the indirect impacts of fishers on water quality, movement (walking, off-road vehicles), the introduction/translocation of fauna (particularly fish), the dispersal of flora and the transmission of fish disease and pathogens are reviewed. It is concluded that with the decline of commercial fishing, the competition between commercial fin-fishing and recreational fishing is negligible, at least throughout most of the country. It is also concluded that each of the issues addressed has the potential to be detrimental to the long-term sustainability of the freshwater ecosystems that the fishers depend on for their recreation. However, information on these issues is scant. This is despite the current and predicted popularity of freshwater recreational fishing continuing to increase in Australia. Indeed, there has been insufficient quantitative assessment of the impacts to even determine what is required to ensure a comprehensive, adequate and representative protection of these freshwater ecosystems. To underpin the sustainability of inland recreational fishing in the country, it was concluded that research is required to underpin the development and implementation of appropriate policies. The alternative is that the integrity and biodiversity loss of these ecosystems will ultimately result in their collapse before the indirect consequences of recreational fishing have been directly assessed and appropriately protected. However, the lack of protection of wetlands is not restricted to Australia; there is a deficit of freshwater protected areas worldwide. View Full-Text
Keywords: angling; commercial competition; inland wetlands; boating; water quality; off-road vehicles; fishermen wading; wetland integrity; fish translocation; disease and pathogen transmission angling; commercial competition; inland wetlands; boating; water quality; off-road vehicles; fishermen wading; wetland integrity; fish translocation; disease and pathogen transmission
MDPI and ACS Style

Burgin, S. Indirect Consequences of Recreational Fishing in Freshwater Ecosystems: An Exploration from an Australian Perspective. Sustainability 2017, 9, 280. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020280

AMA Style

Burgin S. Indirect Consequences of Recreational Fishing in Freshwater Ecosystems: An Exploration from an Australian Perspective. Sustainability. 2017; 9(2):280. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020280

Chicago/Turabian Style

Burgin, Shelley. 2017. "Indirect Consequences of Recreational Fishing in Freshwater Ecosystems: An Exploration from an Australian Perspective" Sustainability 9, no. 2: 280. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020280

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