Fishermen tell tall tales — or so the saying goes. But sometimes, those hook-and-line exploits can become a valuable source of scientific data.
In Australia, scientists working with The Nature Conservancy successfully used historical newspaper records to gather data on recreational fishing in Australia’s Noosa Estuary, revealing declines in the fishery over time.
Centuries of Fishing in Australia’s Everglades
Just two hours north of Brisbane, Australia lies the Noosa Estuary. The Noosa River winds south for more than 50 kilometers through a vast tract of coastal forest, pooling in a series of shallow, saltwater lakes lined with mangroves and melaleuca trees. The river then flows on — past homes, holiday condos, and backpacker hostels — before spilling out into the Pacific Ocean not far from the community beach.
“If you go back a century, there were articles in the Sydney newspapers about this beautiful place called Noosa,” says Ruth Thurstan, an historical ecologist at Deakin and lead author…