Rafael Leon

UTAS Home Dr Rafael León

Rafael León

Junior Research Fellow - Fisheries

Room 34 , IMAS Taroona

+61 3 6226 8209 (phone)

+61 3 6227 8035 (fax)

Rafael is currently a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), where he is responsible for developing a better understanding of the growth of the southern rock lobster (SRL) in Tasmania to improve decision of translocating SRL. He has developed his career mostly in fisheries management with an extensive experience in small-scale fisheries in Chile. Once he successfully finished his Master of Applied Statistics, his career gained a strong quantitative orientation, and he has also taught statistics at undergraduate level. Rafael is committed to pursuing a career in research on natural resources management based on the analysis of the interaction between the social and ecological system; hence he completed a PhD examining Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) fisheries from a socio-economic perspective, which was strongly supported by a quantitative background.


Prior to his current position, Rafael undertook the CSIRO-UTAS PhD Program in Quantitative Marine Science, which was oriented to examine ITQ fisheries, including Tasmanian rock lobster, to understand the trading habits of fishers within quota markets and identify factors that prevent fishers from exercising resource stewardship. His findings provide guidance on the design of management measures for quota fisheries globally. Prior to commencing his PhD, Rafael completed an undergraduate degree and honours in Marine Science at the Catholic University of the North (Chile) and worked for five years in a consulting company oriented to fisheries management in the context of small-scaled fisheries. Later, he completed a Master degree of Applied Statistics at the University of Concepción (Chile) and worked in a statistical consulting company for three years.

Career summary


DegreeThesis TitleUniversityCountryAwarded
PhDThe effect of catch shares strength on management of marine resourcesUniversity of TasmaniaAustralia27/07/2015
MAppStat University of ConcepciónChile08/06/2004
BSc (1st Class Hons)Diet and prey selection dynamics of Cancer polyodon Poepping 1836 in three different habitat types in Tongoy bay, ChileCatholic University of the NorthChile15/12/2000

Languages (other than English)

  • Spanish


Natural Resource Management, Fisheries Science, Fisheries Management and Policy, Fisheries Governance, Stock Assessment, Experimental Economics, Applied Statistics, Marine and Estuarine Ecology

Teaching expertise

Rafael has two years of experience teaching Statistical and Experimental design, aimed at students of Biotechnology Engineering, San Sebastián University (Chile). Additionally, during the course of his PhD, he assisted four PhD students and one Master student to complete specific chapters of their thesis, providing statistical support.

View more on Mr Rafael Leon in WARP


  • Natural resource management
  • Fisheries science
  • Fisheries management and policy
  • Fisheries governance
  • Stock assessment
  • Experimental economics
  • Marine and Estuarine Ecology

Research Themes

Rafael's research aligns to the University's research theme of Marine, Antarctic and Maritime and Resources and Sustainability. His main responsibility in his current position is analysing fishing and biological data to improve management strategies in the southern rock lobster fishery; and examining the interaction between giant crab trap and benthic trawl fisheries to develop management options for resource sharing and minimisation of interaction. During his PhD studies he has analysed a number of ITQ fisheries in Australia and New Zealand, mostly southern rock lobster (SRL) and abalone fisheries, identifying factors that may prevent fishers from exercising resource stewardship. He also analysed the behaviour of quota owners and lease fishers in the quota market of the Tasmanian SRL fishery, applying Experimental Economics, Network Analysis and a variety of other kinds of modelling. Also, his research interests include understanding the interaction between ecological and social systems and their economic implications, modelling the stakeholders' behaviour when they make decisions related to the resources they use or when they interact with other sectors (e.g. interaction between commercial and recreational sectors). Rafael has used his statistical skills to carry out his research with a strong quantitative background.


  • Commendation for oral presentation in the 6th World Fisheries Congress, Edinburgh 2012
  • Becas Chile Scholarship, Program of advanced human capital, CONIYT, Chile 2010-2014
  • Escuela de graduados (Graduate Office) Scholarship, University of Concepción, Chile 2003-2004

Fields of Research

  • Fisheries Management (070403)
  • Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment (070402)
  • Fisheries Sciences (070499)
  • Aquaculture (070401)
  • Animal Physiological Ecology (060806)

Research Objectives

  • Wild Caught Rock Lobster (830206)
  • Wild Caught Edible Molluscs (830203)
  • Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments (960507)
  • Fisheries - Aquaculture (830199)
  • Wild Caught Crustaceans (excl. Rock Lobster and Prawns) (830202)
  • Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity (960802)
  • Fisheries - Wild Caught (830299)
  • Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) (960307)
  • Fisheries - Recreational (830201)


Rafael's publication history has been oriented towards understanding how lease fishers and quota owners behave in ITQ fisheries. Understanding how fishers behave under different management strategies, stock variation derived from environmental variation and how they interact with other stakeholders, may aid to improve the design of management measures. Also, Rafael is co-author in a number of publications oriented to examine biological and ecological aspects of marine exploited resources.

Total publications


Journal Article

(8 outputs)
2017Alter K, Andrewartha SJ, Morash AJ, Clark TD, Hellicar AD, et al., 'Hybrid abalone are more robust to multi-stressor environments than pure parental species', Aquaculture, 478 pp. 25-34. ISSN 0044-8486 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2017.04.035 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Alter K; Andrewartha SJ; Clark TD


2017Hinojosa IA, Gardner C, Green BS, Jeffs A, Leon R, et al., 'Differing environmental drivers of settlement across the range of southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) suggest resilience of the fishery to climate change', Fisheries Oceanography, 26, (1) pp. 49-64. ISSN 1054-6006 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/fog.12185 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 10Web of Science - 10

Co-authors: Hinojosa IA; Gardner C; Green BS


2016Briceno F, Leon R, Gardner C, Hobday AJ, Andre J, et al., 'Spatial variation in mortality by in-pot predation in the Tasmanian rock lobster fishery', Fisheries Oceanography, 25, (Suppl 1) pp. 6-18. ISSN 1054-6006 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/fog.12115 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 7

Co-authors: Gardner C; Andre J; Frusher SD; Pecl GT


2015Emery TJ, Tisdell J, Green BS, Hartmann K, Gardner C, et al., 'An experimental analysis of assignment problems and economic rent dissipation in quota managed fisheries', Ocean & Coastal Management, 106 pp. 10-28. ISSN 0964-5691 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2015.01.008 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Emery TJ; Tisdell J; Green BS; Hartmann K; Gardner C


2015Emery TJ, Tisdell J, Green BS, Hartmann K, Gardner C, et al., 'Experimental analysis of the use of fishery closures and cooperatives to reduce economic rent dissipation caused by assignment problems', ICES Journal of Marine Science, 72, (9) pp. 2650-2662. ISSN 1054-3139 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsv148 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Emery TJ; Tisdell J; Green BS; Hartmann K; Gardner C


2015Leon R, Gardner C, Van Putten I, Hartmann K, 'Changes in the lease and permanent sale quota markets of a rock lobster fishery in response to stock abundance', ICES Journal of Marine Science, 72, (5) pp. 1555-1564. ISSN 1054-3139 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsu246 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Gardner C; Hartmann K


2015Ramos JE, Pecl GT, Semmens JM, Strugnell JM, Leon RI, et al., 'Reproductive capacity of a marine species (Octopus tetricus) within a recent range extension area', Marine and Freshwater Research, 66, (11) pp. 999-1008. ISSN 1323-1650 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/MF14126 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11Web of Science - 12

Co-authors: Ramos JE; Pecl GT; Semmens JM


2014Ramos JE, Pecl GT, Moltschaniwskyj NA, Strugnell JM, Leon RI, et al., 'Body size, growth and life span: implications for the polewards range shift of Octopus tetricus in south-eastern Australia', PLoS One, 9, (8) Article e103480. ISSN 1932-6203 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103480 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 17Web of Science - 18

Co-authors: Ramos JE; Pecl GT; Semmens JM


Conference Publication

(3 outputs)
2015Emery TJ, Tisdell J, Hartmann K, Green BS, Gardner C, et al., 'An experimental analysis of assignment problems and economic rent dissipation in quota managed fisheries', Abstracts from the North American Association of Fisheries Economists 8th Biennial Forum: Economic Sustainability, Fishing Communities, and Working Waterfronts, 20-22 May, Ketchikan, Alaska, pp. 63-64. (2015) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Emery TJ; Tisdell J; Hartmann K; Green BS; Gardner C

2014Emery TJ, Tisdell J, Hartmann K, Green BS, Gardner C, et al., 'Assignment problems and economic rent dissipation in quota-managed fisheries', Program for the Australian Society for Fish Biology and Australian Society for Limnology Joint Congress, 30 June-4 July, Darwin, NT, pp. 5. (2014) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Emery TJ; Tisdell J; Hartmann K; Green BS; Gardner C

2014Emery TJ, Tisdell J, Hartmann K, Green BS, Gardner C, et al., 'Assignment problems and economic rent dissipation in quota-managed fisheries', Program for the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade 2014, 7-11 July, Brisbane, Australia (2014) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Emery TJ; Tisdell J; Hartmann K; Green BS; Gardner C

Other Public Output

(2 outputs)
2019Semmens JM, Mendo T, Jones N, Keane JP, Leon R, et al., 'Determining when and where to fish: Linking scallop spawning, settlement, size and condition to collaborative spatial harvest and industry in-season management strategies', Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Australia, 978-1-925646-59-7, March 2019, pp. 1-84. (2019) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Semmens JM; Mendo T; Jones N; Keane JP; Ewing G; Hartmann K

2016Green B, Gardner C, Hartmann K, Leon R, Linnane A, et al., 'Dynamics of growth in translocated lobsters', FRDC Project No 2014/725 ASCRC, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, July (2016) [Report Other]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Green B; Gardner C; Hartmann K; Linnane A

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Victorian Rock Lobster and Giant Crab Assessments 2019-2021 (2019 - 2021)$317,008
Conduct the Giant Crab and Southern Rock Lobster stock assessments for the Victorian Fisheries Authority. Review a new stock assessment model. Run sensitivity analyses across the range of input parameters. Conduct ongoing work on developing the harvest strategy to meet the needs of these
Victorian Fisheries Authority ($317,008)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Hartmann K; Gardner C; Leon RI
2019 - 2021
Ensuring monitoring and management of bycatch in Southern Rock Lobster fisheries is best practice (2018 - 2019)$225,282
This project will address identified shortcomings in performance relative to bycatch reporting, assessment and management in the Southern Rock Lobster (SRL) fisheries (SA, VIC and TAS), and aims to raise the standard to best practice. Bycatch data collection protocols will be assessed according to international standards, and a risk assessment will be performed to evaluate potential impacts of the SRL fisheries on bycatch species. Those species identified as higher risk will be assessed using data-poor stock assessment methods, and finally, some performance indicators will be developed toprovide guidance on management strategies.
Fisheries Research & Development Corporation ($225,282)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Leon RI; Kennelly S; McLeay L; Linnane A; Reilly D
2018 - 2019
Population Biology: Rock Lobster (2016)$296,970
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water & Environment ($296,970)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Leon RI