FISH readers share their views

Readers provide feedback that will help to shape future issues of FISH magazine

By Annabel Boyer

Graphic illustrating survey responses about the main role or interest of respondents Main role or interest of respondents Graphic saying how many average readers of FISH per copy There are on average 3.3 readers of FISH magazine per copy Graphic showing reading habits of survey respondents54% of respondents say they read articles of specific interest, 41% of respondents read thoroughly.

The results of our 2016 survey of readers of FISH magazine are in. FISH staff thank everyone who took the time to respond, with a total of 217 respondents.

The survey was carried out by market research company Intuitive Solutions and provides valuable feedback to guide the production of the magazine for the next few years.

It also provides a sense for us here at the FRDC of who FISH readers are. The survey results show that our readers are a diverse bunch, including recreational fishers (27 per cent), commercial fishers (23 per cent), government agencies (11 per cent) and academics (11 per cent).

93 per cent of eaders agree or strongly agree FISH magazine is a valuable way for the industry to find out what's new in research and development, but seven per cent disagree. Sixty-one per cent of readers follow up on stories seen in FISH.

It is important to note that FISH goes out to almost all commercial licence holders (80 to 90 per cent of recipients), which means we received a higher rate of responses by other sectors.

“One of the major reasons for conducting the survey is to work out whether we are meeting the needs and interests of our readers,” says Peter Horvat, FRDC’s manager of communications, trade and marketing.

Across two key measures there has been a slight lift in ratings:

  • likelihood to recommend FISH magazine to others – score of 8.3 out of 10 (up 0.2 from the previous survey); and
  • importance for the FRDC to continue to produce/distribute FISH magazine – score of 8.4 (up 0.1).

In addition, more than one in two subscribers (55 per cent) reported that once they finish reading FISH they either pass it on to someone else or leave it in the office for others to read.

This means that our readership reaches far beyond our subscriber list. Respondents said they share the magazine with an average of 2.3 other people.

Importantly, most respondents ‘strongly agree’ (51 per cent) or ‘agree’ (42 per cent) that FISH magazine is a valuable way to find out about what is new in R&D in fishing and aquaculture.

Our readers’ interest in research is further highlighted by the fact that 41 per cent of respondents read it thoroughly and 54 per cent read articles of specific interest. That only leaves four per cent of respondents who say they just scan through the magazine.

It is also heartening for us here at FISH magazine headquarters that 61 per cent of respondents reported following up on information that they had seen in FISH and 47 per cent say that FISH has taught them something new. As a scientific organisation that seeks to dispel misinformation with the research it funds, these results are in line with the FRDC’s goals.

While most readers were satisfied with FISH magazine, they were able to identify opportunities to strengthen the content, suggesting more stories on:

  • conservation, including the environmental impact of both commercial and recreational fishing;
  • more balance between research and news as well as different viewpoints;
  • greater breadth of information for research, events and stories; and
  • recreational fishing articles.

This broad range of topics reinforces the diversity of FISH magazine’s audience. One of the challenges for us here at the FRDC is to cater to this diverse audience. However, this is made easier by the finding that for most respondents (49 per cent), research stories are the first articles read, followed by industry news and case studies. This means we can continue to have a strong focus on R&D.

Getting the balance of stories right is a challenge. Every issue goes through a planning process to ensure broad coverage that will appeal to our whole audience.

It is important to remember, however, that the FRDC is neither a management agency nor an industry body and our primary remit is around research, development, extension and now marketing.

Many readers showed concern in their comments about the environmental impact of printing and distributing FISH magazine.

We are conscious of this, but also that a majority of respondents clearly indicated that they still preferred a printed magazine. However, we would like to highlight the availability of FISH as a digital download.

You can access individual articles through the FRDC’s website or download the entire magazine through iTunes as an iPad app, or through Google Play for an Android tablet or phone (see FRDC for instructions). 

Reader Comments

“Would like to see a short snippets section – where fishers can submit their own comments and ideas and feedback on articles (so FISH is more interactive and responsive).”

“Write more about the small fishers, net and crab fishers.”

“As a recreational club fisher, information could include catch-and-release techniques best suited to surf and estuary fishing.”

“It’s a good attempt to communicate across an industry whose participants have little in common apart from making their living from the water – from the tropics to the Antarctic.”

“Particularly enjoy articles on research, and how science is being used to combat issues.”

“Wider range of view points and challenging existing parochial viewpoints – more industry innovation success stories.”

“Links and portals that point you to internet-based research papers that really get into very detailed things about particular species.”

“Add more articles about freshwater fish, restocking, fishing, please. It’s vital to the bush that we continue to attract tourists out here and the fishing is an enormous attraction.”

“We disseminate information from the magazine to our alumni and particularly highlight articles that are about members of our alumni. It’s a great product.”

“More cool science stories please! I loved the ‘not your usual catch’ piece and the Eureka Awards in December 2015 magazine.”

“It is informative, interesting and easy to access and read, for many levels. We have recommended it to numerous people, including teachers. Keep up the great work!”

“Add more articles regarding overseas advances in R&D.”

FRDC Research Codes: 2016-500, 2011-514

More information

Peter Horvat,