Actions speak louder than words

tournament angling as an avenue to promote best practice for pelagic shark fishing

Matthew Heard*, Stephen Sutton, Paul Rogers, Charlie Huveneers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Social research can aid in understanding the behaviour of the general public or stakeholders towards natural resources. In the case of recreational fishing, social research aids in integrating anglers' knowledge and attitudes into management frameworks to increase the likelihood of the uptake of new management regulations. Tournament anglers were surveyed at game fishing competitions throughout New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia between February 2012 and May 2013 to investigate their general beliefs around sharks and their behaviours when targeting pelagic sharks. Over half (55%) of the anglers interviewed practised catch and release of pelagic sharks. Of those, almost all (98%) asserted that they attempt to release sharks in good condition, but a large percentage of anglers (48%) did not use circle hooks that have been shown to increase post-release survival. Results showing some concordance between angler's beliefs and behaviours when targeting pelagic sharks suggest that anglers are cognisant of the functional role of sharks in the ecosystem and would be open to recommendations ensuring the long-term sustainability of recreational fisheries targeting pelagic sharks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • behaviours
  • belief
  • catch and release
  • game fishing
  • Isurus oxyrinchus

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