Compliance is a key factor in ensuring success of marine conservation. We describe a community–academic partnership that seeks to reduce non-compliance of recreational fishers with Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs) around Galiano Island in British Columbia, Canada. Previous work showed mostly unintentional non-compliance by recreational fishers. From 2015 to 2018 we developed and implemented outreach and public education activities. We distributed information at community events, and installed 46 metal signs with maps of nearby RCAs at marinas, ferry terminals, and boat launches. During the summers of 2015, 2017, and 2018, we interviewed 86 recreational fishers to gauge their compliance with RCAs. Compared with a baseline in 2014, there was a reduction of 22% (from 25 to 3%) of people who unintentionally fished in RCAs with prohibited gears. In 2018, 67% of participants had seen our outreach materials. We used trail cameras overlooking RCAs to assess non-compliance in six locations on Galiano Island. Illegal fishing incidents within RCAs declined from 42% of days monitored in 2014 to 14% in 2018. Although our outreach efforts were limited in scale and scope, they appear to be making a difference. Our activities and findings can provide guidance for other regions seeking to improve compliance by recreational fishers.
Few studies assess the effects of recreational fishing in isolation from commercial fishing. We used meta-analysis to synthesise 4444 samples from 30 years (1987–2017) of fish surveys inside and outside a large network of highly protected reserves in the Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia, where the major fishing activity is recreational. Data were collected by different agencies, using varied survey designs and sampling methods. We contrasted the relative abundance and biomass of target and non-target fish groups between fished and reserve locations. We considered the influence of, and possible interactions between, seven additional variables: age and size of reserve, one of two reserve network configurations, reef habitat type, recreational fishing activity, shore-based fishing regulations and survey method. Taxa responded differently: the abundance and biomass inside reserves relative to outside was higher for targeted lethrinids, while other targeted (and non-targeted) fish groups were indistinguishable. Reef habitat was important for explaining lethrinid response to protection, and this factor interacted with reserve size, such that larger reserves were demonstrably more effective in the back reef and lagoon habitats. There was little evidence of changes in relative abundance and biomass of fishes with reserve age, or after rezoning and expansion of the reserve network. Our study demonstrates the complexities in quantifying fishing effects, highlighting some of the key factors and interactions that likely underlie the varied results in reserve assessments that should be considered in future reserve design and assessment.
The Maltese Islands have a very active recreational fishing community which may affect the coastal marine ecosystem. Despite this, studies to scientifically document the effects of this activity have been lacking prior to works between July 2012 and June 2017 presented here as a case study. This project, with the aim of collecting long-term data on the characteristics, trends, catches and impacts to fish populations of the recreational shore sport fishery at the national level also involved a pilot study on hobby shore angling. Two thousand five hundred and eighty nine roving-access creel surveys conducted during 132 sport fishing events and 159 catches from hobby fishers were documented with the methodology used also applicable to shore fishing taking place in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. Ninety species belonging to twenty-nine families were documented with the most common being the Sparidae and Labridae. Catch per unit effort was higher for sport fishers with hobby fishers targeting larger fish. Results from this case study go to augment the limited and necessary knowledge on this fishing sector in the Mediterranean. Findings also indicate that recreational fisheries need to be taken into account when considering conservation measures for national, regional and global fisheries management.
Marine recreational fishing is popular globally and benefits coastal economies and people's well‐being. For some species, it represents a large component of fish landings. Climate change is anticipated to affect recreational fishing in many ways, creating opportunities and challenges. Rising temperatures or changes in storms and waves are expected to impact the availability of fish to recreational fishers, through changes in recruitment, growth and survival. Shifts in distribution are also expected, affecting the location that target species can be caught. Climate change also threatens the safety of fishing. Opportunities may be reduced owing to rougher conditions, and costs may be incurred if gear is lost or damaged in bad weather. However, not all effects are expected to be negative. Where weather conditions change favourably, participation rates could increase, and desirable species may become available in new areas. Drawing on examples from the UK and Australia, we synthesize existing knowledge to develop a conceptual model of climate‐driven factors that could impact marine recreational fisheries, in terms of operations, participation and motivation. We uncover the complex pathways of drivers that underpin the recreational sector. Climate changes may have global implications on the behaviour of recreational fishers and on catches and local economies.
Fisheries management is increasingly turning to participatory approaches as a way to improve stakeholder satisfaction with management institutions and policies, reduce conflicts, enhance compliance, and achieve various other benefits. However, how these efforts are perceived by participants and their impact on actual stakeholder attitudes is rarely evaluated. A quantitative survey was used to explore attitudes toward management and perceptions of participation opportunities in Florida's marine recreational fisheries management. Though most (89%) respondents agreed that public input should be included in decision-making, few agreed it is (19%) or that managers listen to public input (13%), and only 15% agreed there are opportunities for them to participate. Almost half (42%) were on average dissatisfied with management outcomes and processes. A significant correlation was found between respondent's perception that they could take meaningful action to influence management and their overall satisfaction with management (r = 0.58, p < 0.001). Stakeholders that had the highest and lowest scores for meaningful action differed in whether or not they perceived they had opportunities for participation and in their understanding of the management process. However, the strongest differences related to the perceived incorporation (or lack thereof) of stakeholder input into decision-making, and the quality of science behind decision-making. Overall this suggests that the perception that opportunities for participation are limited and not genuine is associated with overall dissatisfaction with marine recreational fisheries management. We recommend measures to increase awareness of participation opportunities and in particular, transparent and effective use of stakeholder input in decision-making in order to ensure that engagement opportunities are viewed as meaningful. This could increase satisfaction with management and strengthen wider benefits of participatory approaches.
Policy-makers are faced with the ongoing challenge of designing management interventions which conserve marine ecosystems while maintaining a sustainable level of resource user access. Recreational fishers are a key user group to consider as their activities can have significant impacts on fish populations. In some contexts, recreational fishers also represent a significant proportion of the public and can hold considerable influence on governing authorities. This issue is particularly pertinent for marine protected areas as significant opposition exists within some local communities, including recreational fishers, and community support is critical to achieving success. An online survey was employed across Western Australia to investigate recreational fishers' motivations and their attitudes towards fisheries management and different types of spatial closures, including marine protected areas. The results show the most specialised fishers demonstrate stronger support for traditional fisheries management compared to other groups, but stronger opposition to closed fishing zones specified as sanctuary zones. In comparison, no strong opposition is present for temporarily closed fishing zones or those protecting unique or fragile places. Our results suggest that rather than spatial fishing closures, it is the designated purpose of sanctuary zones for precautionary management which some specialised fishers reject. Understanding patterns of support are vital for policy-makers to design and communicate policy which is seen as appropriate and legitimate amongst stakeholders, particularly to those specialised fishers who hold significant influence in fishing communities.
This paper explores the ecosystem services provided by anadromous brown trout (often termed sea trout) populations in Norway. Sea trout is an important species in both freshwater and marine ecosystems and provides important demand-driven ecological provisioning and socio-cultural services. While the sea trout once provided an important provisioning service through a professional fishery and subsistence fishing, fishing for sea trout in the near shore coastal areas and in rivers is today a very popular and accessible recreational activity and generates primarily socio-cultural services. The recreational fishery contributes to local cultural heritage, its folkways and lore, to the development and transfer of local ecological knowledge and fishing experience to the young and to human well-being. As a salmonid species, the sea trout is sensitive to negative environmental conditions in both freshwater and marine coastal areas and is in general decline. A recent decision to expand production of farmed salmon may increase pressure on stocks. Good management of recreational fishing is accordingly important for the species to thrive, but knowledge of what fishers value with respect to fishing sea trout and what management measures they will accept is limited. Researchers sought to capture information about non-extractive direct use value (non-monetary) of the sea trout recreational fishery using questionnaire surveys targeting Norwegian anglers around the country. Results indicate that the most important ecosystem services delivered by recreational sea trout fisheries are social-cultural ecosystem services at the level of individual fishers; fishing sea trout most likely also has important social functions. Fishers are prepared to accept stricter management measures that reduce catches and allow fishing to continue but they oppose paying higher fees.
Telemetry is being used to generate an unprecedented level of knowledge on the underwater environment, much of which is relevant to marine policy and management. Yet, examples of telemetry directly informing management practices are still rare or undocumented. Here we describe a case in which fish telemetry data were rapidly incorporated into recreational fisheries policy for Permit (Trachinotus falcatus) in Florida. The reproductivestrategy of Permit involves forming large aggregations, during which time they are often targeted by recreational anglers. To protect Permit from overfishing, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission established regulations in 2011 to prohibit Permit harvest during May through July, based on knowledge of seasonal Permit reproductive status. However, an acoustic telemetry study initiated in 2016 revealed that spawning aggregations were forming prior to this period, during the month of April. This information had a rapid and definitive impact on fisheries management policy. Given the well-documented difficulties of incorporating new science and information into environmental decision-making, this case provides valuable insights into how the knowledge-action gap may be bridged. Many factors contributed to the rapid uptake of this telemetry-derived knowledge into management, including applied research funding and objectives, integrating managers and stakeholders into the research, rapid dissemination of preliminary data, plus well-established relationships amongst scientists, managers, and stakeholders mediated by a non-government organization, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. These factors may serve as a basis for researchers and managers seeking to translate new research into management practice, improving research impact and achievement of conservation goals.
The number of recreational fishing licenses in Brazil has been increasing exponentially since 2000, but a drop occurred in 2014, probably associated to an economic crisis. On average, only 20% of the licenses issued in 2011-2014 were for anglers fishing in marine waters. From those, 20% were type A licenses (shore-based) and the remainder were type B-C licenses (boat-based). Based on the licenses database, it was possible to estimate a mean annual expenditure by marine anglers of US$ 524 million between 2011 and 2014. The absolute mean expenditure per trip was usually higher for men but women tended to spend more as a percentage of their income. This was mainly due to the lower average income of women relative to men. Some inconsistences in the licenses database were found which could be easily corrected in the future and the estimates presented here improved.
Data about recreational fisheries are scarce in many areas of the world. In the absence of monitoring data collected in situ, alternative data sources, such as digital applications and social media platforms, have the potential to produce valuable insights. Yet, the potential of social media for drawing insights about recreational fisheries is still underexplored. In this study, we applied data mining on YouTube videos to better understand recreational fisheries targeting common dentex (Dentex dentex), an iconic species of Mediterranean recreational fisheries. We chose this model species because of ongoing controversies about the relative impact of recreational angling and recreational spearfishing on its conservation status. In Italy alone, from 2010 to 2016 recreational spearfishers posted 1051 videos compared to 692 videos posted by recreational anglers. Only the upload pattern of spearfishing videos followed a seasonal pattern with peaks in July, suggesting seasonality of spearfishing catches of D. dentex – a trend not found for anglers. The average mass of the fish declared in recreational angling videos (6.43 kg) was significantly larger than the one in spearfishing videos (4.50 kg). Videos posted by recreational spearfishers received significantly more likes and comments than those posted by recreational anglers, suggesting that the social engagement among recreational spearfishers was stronger than in anglers. We also found that the mass of the fish positively predicted social engagement in recreational spearfishing videos, but not in videos posted by recreational anglers. This could be caused by the generally smaller odds of catching large D. dentex by spearfishing, possibly explaining why posting videos with particularly large specimen triggered larger social engagement by recreational spearfishers. Our case study demonstrates that data mining on YouTube can be a powerful tool to provide complementary data on controversial and data-poor aspects of recreational fisheries.