Understanding the impacts of recreational fishing on habitats and species, as well as the social and ecological importance of place to anglers, requires information on the spatial distribution of fishing activities. This study documented long-term changes in core fishing areas of a major recreational fishery in Alaska and identified biological, regulatory, social, and economic drivers of spatial fishing patterns by charter operators. Using participatory mapping and in-person interviews, we characterized the spatial footprint of 46 charter operators in the communities of Sitka and Homer since the 1990s. The spatial footprint differed between Homer and Sitka respondents, with Homer operators consistently using larger areas for Pacific halibut than Sitka operators. Homer and Sitka showed opposite trends in core fishing location area over time, with an overall decrease in Homer and an overall increase in Sitka. For both Sitka and Homer respondents, the range of areas fished was greater for Pacific halibut than for rockfish/lingcod or Pacific salmon. Spatial patterns were qualitatively different between businesses specializing in single species trips and those that operated multispecies trips and between businesses with one vessel and those with multiple vessels. In Homer, the most frequently cited reasons for changes in the location and/or extent of fishing were changes in trip type and the price of fuel, while in Sitka, the most frequently cited reasons for spatial shifts were changes to Pacific halibut regulations and gaining experience or exploring new locations. The diversity of charter fishing strategies in Alaska may allow individual charter operators to respond differently to perturbations and thus maintain resilience of the industry as a whole to social, environmental, and regulatory change. This research also highlights the importance of understanding fishers’ diverse portfolio of activities to effective ecosystem-based management.
The growth of marine recreational activities raises the issues of the current lack of knowledge on these activities and the information required to assess their potential impacts. Indeed, the monitoring of unrecorded activities is a great challenge, especially when basic information, such as the size of the population practicing the different activities, is unknown. In this paper, the experience of the monitoring of marine recreational fishing was used to carry out a diagnosis study to assess the cost-effectiveness of survey methods used in France between 2004 and 2012. Costs of alternative surveys were balanced with data quality, and particular attention was paid to potential biases. Results showed that the involvement of citizens through diary surveys could be a cost-effective option when the recruitment of participants complied with randomness and representativeness requirements. The outcomes of this study provide useful insights to help managers and decision makers implement monitoring schemes in similar contexts.
Relationships between angling effort and fish abundance have critical implications for the resilience and management of recreational fisheries, but these relationships have rarely been assessed empirically. Here, angling effort was related to fish abundance in three marine recreational fisheries in Florida, USA, through a suite of regression and time series methods that accounted for socio-economic and demographic variables. Overall, recreational angling effort was correlated with fish abundance, but further analyses provided little evidence of strong, causal relationships. Lack of strong relationships implies angling effort might increase in the future unrelated to fish abundance, a decoupling that could threaten the viability of fish populations in the absence of unpopular recreational effort limitation. The inability to establish more conclusive relationships between effort and fish abundance should motivate a future focus towards natural or manipulative experiments that may provide more powerful inferences.
Despite the perilous status of many shark populations, rallying support for their conservation has been challenging, due in part to both long held negative perceptions and desire for shark fisheries. Recreational anglers are often advocates of conservation and can act as valuable partners with resource managers in developing fisheries management and conservation strategies. However, understanding their attitudes and perceptions, particularly towards resource status and management, is essential to developing successful management strategies and predicting outcomes. As a case study for assessing the complex challenges of sustainable shark fisheries, Florida recreational anglers were surveyed to understand how attitudes and perceptions influenced their willingness to donate for shark 1) conservation and protection or 2) fisheries sustainability. Overall, recreational angler willingness to donate was 25.5%, but attitudes and perceptions helped explain dramatic divides. For instance, willingness to donate was only 6% among the subset of anglers that perceived a growing large coastal shark population as a threat to recreational fishing opportunities. Highest support for shark conservation was shown by anglers who value seeing sharks in the wild (41.4%), and even more so among individuals who occasionally target sharks while fishing recreationally (65.8%). Pervasive among anglers unwilling to donate was a perception that shark populations were increasing, and thus not in need of further protection. These findings illustrate attitudes and perceptions that challenge shark conservation and fisheries management, as well as the critical importance of engaging anglers when developing strategies that rely on the recreational angling community for support.
There is international recognition for greater inclusion of recreational fisheries catch data in species, fisheries and ecosystem assessments. Recreational charter fisheries provide important social services and contribute to total species catches. This study compares and validates industry logbook catch and effort data (1,357 trips) against observer data (154 trips) across six ports in a recreational charter fishery in eastern Australia. The mean numbers of clients and fishing effort (hours) per trip varied inconsistently between data sources and among ports. Logbooks did not adequately report released catches, and the mean number of species retained per trip was consistently underestimated in logbooks compared to observer data. For both data sources, catch rates of total individuals and key species displayed similar trends across different units of effort; catch per hour, client, client/hour and trip. The mean catch rates of total individuals and most key species, except those retained for bait, were similar across data sources, as were estimates of total fleet harvests. The length compositions of retained catches of some key species displayed truncation of larger organisms in the observer data whereas other species did not. Despite the shortcomings of the logbook data, future fishery and species monitoring strategies could include industry and observer data sources.
This study aimed to assess the suitability of the Berkowitz' (2005) social norms approach (SNA) for improving compliance behaviour amongst recreational fishers. A total of 138 recreational shore anglers were interviewed in Eastern Cape, South Africa and asked about their compliance, attitudes towards compliance, perceptions of compliance and the attitudes of other anglers. Results indicate that angler compliance for individual regulations was relatively high (75%–90%). Attitudes of anglers towards compliance was positive, with >80% feeling that “breaking any regulation is wrong.” Yet, as predicted by the SNA, interviewees often overestimated the non-compliance and negative attitudes of other anglers, particularly as their social proximity decreased. Interviewees with the greatest misperceptions were also less compliant. The social norms present in the Eastern Cape rock and surf fishery fulfil the criteria required for the application of the SNA, suggesting that this approach may provide a suitable normative intervention for improving compliance to be used in conjunction with instrumental approaches in recreational fisheries.
Fishing is an important recreational activity for many Australians, with one in every four people participating every year. There are however many different pressures exerted on Australian fish stocks, including climate-related changes that drive changes in local fish abundances. It is inevitable that recreational fishers will need to adapt to these changes. When resource abundance alters substantially, user adaptation to the new situation is required and policies and incentives may need to be developed to encourage behaviour change. It is important to correctly anticipate fisher's response to these policies and incentives as much as possible. Improved understanding of recreational fisher's likely adaptation decisions and the nature and timing of these decisions can help avoid unintended consequences of management decisions. Based on a survey of recreational fishers in the south-east Australian climate hotspot, we identify 4 relevant dimensions to recreational fisher's behavioural adaptation. There are differences in adaptation timing (early, late, and non-adaptors). Non-adaptors are characterised by greater cultural attachment to fishing and stronger perceptions of the factors that influence abundance change. The fisher's preferred adaptation responses and the timing of the behavioural response differs between decreasing versus increasing fish abundance. Insight into perspectives and expectations on how recreational fishers might adapt to changes is useful to develop a set of behavioural incentives that appeal to different groups but remain efficient and effective in their implementation. Such knowledge can create new pathways to achieve meaningful and targeted adaptation responses for different types of recreational fishers.
Effective conservation depends upon people's compliance with regulations, yet non-compliance (eg poaching) is often the rule rather than the exception. Poaching is often clandestine and socially undesirable, requiring specialized, multidisciplinary approaches for assessment and management. We estimated poaching by recreational fishers in no-fishing reserves of Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) by conducting social surveys and quantifying derelict (lost or discarded) fishing gear. Our study revealed that (1) between 3–18% of fishers admitted to poaching within the past year, (2) poaching activities were often concentrated at certain times (holidays) and in specific places (poaching hotspots), and (3) fishers’ primary motivations to poach were the perception of higher catches in reserves and a low probability of detection. Our results suggest that extolling certain ecological benefits of marine reserves where enforcement capacity is low could lead to the perverse outcome of encouraging non-compliance. Our combined social–ecological approach revealed that even in an iconic marine park such as the GBRMP, poaching levels are higher than previously assumed, which has implications for effective management.
- Marine conservation areas require high levels of compliance to meet conservation objectives, yet little research has assessed compliance quantitatively, especially for recreational fishers. Recreational fishers take 12% of global annual fish catches. With millions of people fishing from small boats, this fishing sector is hard to monitor, making accurate quantification of non-compliance an urgent research priority.
- Shore-based remote camera monitoring was tested for quantifying recreational non-compliance in near-shore, coastal rockfish conservation areas (RCAs) in the Salish Sea, Canada.
- Six high definition trail cameras were used to monitor 42 locations between July and August 2014.
- Seventy-nine percent of monitored conservation area sites showed confirmed or probable fishing activity, with no significant difference in fishing effort inside and outside RCAs.
- Mixed effects generalized linear models were used to test environmental and geographic factors influencing compliance. Sites with greater depth had significantly higher fishing effort, which may imply high, barotrauma-induced, rockfish mortality in RCA sites.
- Non-compliance estimates were similar to aerial fly-over compliance data from 2011, suggesting that trail camera monitoring may be an accurate and affordable alternative method of assessing non-compliance in coastal conservation areas, especially for community-based organizations wishing to monitor local waters.
- Widespread non-compliance could compromise the ability of RCAs to protect and rebuild rockfish populations. Increased education, signage, and enforcement is likely to improve compliance.
Although some stocks are being severely exploited by recreational fishing, estimating the biomass extracted (harvest, H) by recreational fisheries is difficult, especially for marine recreational fisheries. One way to estimate H by recreational fisheries is to combine the fishing effort (E) with catch-per-unit-of-effort (CPUE) data. However, naively ignoring heterogeneity in E and CPUE may result in biased and imprecise estimates of H. We propose a framework to address three relevant heterogeneity levels: the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of recreational E, environmental effects on recreational CPUE, and the variability in angler skills (between-angler heterogeneity). Specifically, we combine (i) space-time model predictions of E (number of boats per km2) on the day scale (i.e., fishing trips), (ii) environmentally driven model predictions of daily catch (number of squid per fishing trip), and (iii) off- and on-site surveys to account for angler heterogeneity. The precision of the H estimates was assessed using bootstrap confidence intervals. This framework was applied to the recreational fishery for the squid Loligo vulgaris at Palma Bay (Mallorca Island, western Mediterranean). The estimated effort was 15,750 angler-fishing trips (95% CI: 13,086 to 18,569), which yielded an annual harvest of 20.6 tons (95% CI: 16.9–24.5). This harvest was estimated to represent 34% of the total commercial landings in Mallorca, which highlights the importance of recreational harvesting and the need to account for recreational fisheries to improve squid stock management. The framework proposed here provides a promising tool for estimating H in other heterogeneous recreational fisheries and may be the first step toward assessing the actual impact of recreational fisheries on squid populations.