Débora is a research associate working with GIS and Conservation Planning with Prof. Bob Pressey under the Program 6: Conservation planning for a sustainable future in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University. Born in Brazil, she received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Oceanography with expertise in integrated coastal management at the Federal University of Rio Grande. In 2003, she moved to the University of Delaware (Centre for the Study of Marine Policy) where she coursed complementary studies in Marine Policy. Debora moved to the public environmental sector in 2003 where she worked for 2 years as Supervisor of the Environmental Department of the Rio Grande City Council (Southern Brazil). She is currently concluding her PhD in Environment Studies at James Cook University. Her work here focused on the use of geographic information systems in systematic conservation planning, integrated coastal zone management, and stakeholders’ engagement in the management of natural resources.
In this talk I will present an overview of the spatial assessment of the implications of the 2004 Rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef for recreational fishers of the Northern Queensland. The 2004 rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park substantially increased the amount of no-take areas from 4% to 33% of the Park area. Recreational fishers are one of the stakeholder groups most affected by the changes in resources access under the new zoning plan. This study aimed to understand and document the spatial effects of the rezoning on recreational fishing activity and recreational fishers. Spatial data of previous and current fishing locations were collected throughout a series of face-to-face interviews that utilized maps to collect information and GIS for archiving and analysis. Indices of fishing displacement and pressure were calculated through spatial statistics analysis. Results suggest that many recreational fishers lost at least one of their primary fishing locations due to the new zoning plan. Most fishers reported compensating for lost areas by fishing more at other areas within the Park. Fishing effort displaced from the new no-fishing zones tended to move inshore by approximately 25%, and to areas already heavily used by recreational fishers. Findings demonstrate the importance of considering the spatial implications of MPA zoning on recreational fishers and recreational fishing effort. Careful planning is required to minimize the impacts of MPA zoning on recreational fishers, and to ensure that displaced fishing effort does not negatively impact surrounding areas.