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To eat or not to eat, coastal sea trout anglers' motivations and perceptions of best practices for catch and release
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development.
2022 (English)In: Fisheries Research, ISSN 0165-7836, E-ISSN 1872-6763, Vol. 254, article id 106412Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The wide variety of perspectives and actions of individual anglers contribute greatly to success or failure when adopting and implementing fisheries management tools. Catch-and-release (C&R) is one such tool where success is influenced by both variation in human factors, but also species and fishery specific characteristics. In this study, an intercept survey of 94 sea trout anglers in a C&R dominated fishery on the Swedish island of Gotland investigated motivations to release or retain catches, self-assessment of anglers' own ability to release fish, and their rating of the importance of various factors influencing the successful outcomes of C&R. Retention of catches was most strongly motivated by situations where anglers deemed the fish unlikely to survive, however more than half of anglers acknowledged being unaware of delayed mortality in released fish. The spawning status of an individual fish was the primary motivation for release, particularly among anglers that prefer to keep at least some of their catches. The roles of water temperature, using single, and barbless hooks were scored as significantly less important than other components contributing to the success of a release. Anglers that gave a favourable rating to their ability to release sea trout also gave greater importance to various factors influencing the success of release, reported higher catch per unit effort, and released a greater proportion of their catches. These findings are discussed in the context of bridging knowledge and behavioural gaps around best practices for C&R in this fishery.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2022. Vol. 254, article id 106412
Keywords [en]
Catch-and-release, Recreational fisheries, Salmo trutta, Human dimensions, Angling
National Category
Ecology Fish and Wildlife Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-487109DOI: 10.1016/j.fishres.2022.106412ISI: 000861667900005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-487109DiVA, id: diva2:1706239
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2016-00227Available from: 2022-10-25 Created: 2022-10-25 Last updated: 2024-01-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Casting for Knowledge and Landing Understanding: Exploring the management of Swedish recreational fisheries as social-ecological systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Casting for Knowledge and Landing Understanding: Exploring the management of Swedish recreational fisheries as social-ecological systems
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The successful management of recreational fisheries must balance ecological, and social goals; select from and implement a range of management tools; operate under often complex governance structures; and contend with diverse human stakeholders’ expectations, desires, and actual behaviour in response to management activities. This complexity also means that there are many knowledge and research gaps regarding the information needed to meet the requirements of specific fisheries. This thesis explores Swedish recreational fisheries as social-ecological systems to help close these gaps, and improve their future management.

The sea trout (Salmo trutta) fishery around the island of Gotland provides context for investigating the human and ecological dimensions of catch-and-release (C&R), and stock level connections between angler expectations, catches, and spawning returns. This case study first identifies key motivations to retain or release sea trout of legal size, and factors anglers think are important for successful C&R. Then determines which angler-related, fish-related, or environmental factors impact stress levels and injuries for sea trout. Further, it identifies the potential for small changes in anglers harvest preferences to significantly impact mortality rates for an important segment of the spawning population. Taken together these outcomes identify knowledge and behavioural gaps that influence the successful application of C&R in this fishery, and that could affect the achievement of fishery management goals.

Several opportunities to improve the transfer of information between stakeholder groups in Swedish recreational fisheries are illuminated through an assessment of how best practices for C&R are communicated to anglers, and an evaluation of potential biases generated when collecting data through angler surveys. Communication from freshwater fishery managers to fishing license buyers is deficient in the quality and quantity of information on best practices for C&R. In addition, this is notably poorer for certain fisheries and target species that have very high rates of C&R. In the opposite direction, the collection of information from anglers is also challenging, as common sampling techniques and the grouping of survey responses in recreational fisheries can introduce significant biases that impact how data can be interpreted. These include psychological dimensions of fishing experiences that connect angler motivations and behaviours to fishery management structures.

This thesis contributes to the knowledge and discussion about sustainably managing recreational fisheries, but the methods to apply this information to existing governance structures and induce positive behavioural change in diverse populations of anglers require further development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2024. p. 73
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 2357
Keywords
Recreational Fisheries, Fisheries Management, Catch & Release, Social-ecological System, Angler Behaviour, Fish Behaviour, Fish Welfare, Stakeholder Engagement
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources and Sustainable Development
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-520548 (URN)978-91-513-2011-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-03-01, E-22, Cramérgatan 3, Visby, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-02-06 Created: 2024-01-12 Last updated: 2024-02-06

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Blyth, SamuelRönnbäck, Patrik

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