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Casting for Knowledge and Landing Understanding: Exploring the management of Swedish recreational fisheries as social-ecological systems
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8243-8924
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Description
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-520548ISBN: 978-91-513-2011-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-520548DiVA, id: diva2:1827258
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
List of papers
1. To eat or not to eat, coastal sea trout anglers' motivations and perceptions of best practices for catch and release
Open this publication in new window or tab >>To eat or not to eat, coastal sea trout anglers' motivations and perceptions of best practices for catch and release
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
Keywords
Catch-and-release, Recreational fisheries, Salmo trutta, Human dimensions, Angling
National Category
Ecology Fish and Wildlife Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-487109 (URN)10.1016/j.fishres.2022.106412 (DOI)000861667900005 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2016-00227
Available from: 2022-10-25 Created: 2022-10-25 Last updated: 2024-01-12Bibliographically approved
2. After the spawn and on the hook: Sea trout Salmo trutta biophysical responses to different components of catch and release in a coastal fishery
Open this publication in new window or tab >>After the spawn and on the hook: Sea trout Salmo trutta biophysical responses to different components of catch and release in a coastal fishery
2022 (English)In: Journal of Fish Biology, ISSN 0022-1112, E-ISSN 1095-8649, Vol. 101, no 3, p. 464-477Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigated the biophysical responses of sea run brown trout Salmo trutta to catch-and-release in the coastal fishery around Gotland, Sweden. It used information recorded on individual angled S. trutta (n = 162), including fight time, handling time, total air exposure time, injury, bleeding, fish length, body condition, spawning status, water temperature, hook location and difficulty of hook removal. Reflex action mortality predictors (equilibrium, operculum beats, tail grab response, body flex response and vestibular-ocular response), tests of blood glucose and lactate, and observation of hooking injury were used to measure the relative impact of the angling event on the fish's physical state and stress experienced. The results of this study suggest low rates of post-release mortality and generally limited stress responses to angling events, and relatively high post-release survival supported by the recapture of many tagged S. trutta. However, a number of scenarios were identified in which stress responses are likely to be compounded and where anglers should take additional action to reduce sublethal physiological disturbances and the risk of delayed mortality. Particular care should be taken to limit cumulative total air exposure to <10 s, and to reduce handling time and risk of additional injury in angling events with extended fight times, when water temperatures >10 degrees C, or where S. trutta show evidence of being physically compromised by injury or having recently spawned. The results also indicate the importance of using appropriately sized single hooks rather than larger treble hooks to reduce hooking injury and handling time during unhooking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Keywords
angler behaviour, angling, catch-and-release, fish impairment, recreational fisheries, stakeholder collaboration
National Category
Fish and Aquacultural Science Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-493284 (URN)10.1111/jfb.15108 (DOI)000816845500001 ()35598067 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2023-01-17 Created: 2023-01-17 Last updated: 2024-01-12Bibliographically approved
3. Imagination, reality, and reproduction: Comparing the expectations of coastal sea trout anglers with real catches, and sea trout spawning activity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Imagination, reality, and reproduction: Comparing the expectations of coastal sea trout anglers with real catches, and sea trout spawning activity
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-520541 (URN)
Available from: 2024-01-12 Created: 2024-01-12 Last updated: 2024-01-12
4. Informing obligations: Best practice information for catch‐and‐release in Swedish local recreational fisheries management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Informing obligations: Best practice information for catch‐and‐release in Swedish local recreational fisheries management
Show others...
2023 (English)In: Fisheries Management and Ecology, ISSN 0969-997X, E-ISSN 1365-2400, Vol. 30, no 3, p. 310-322Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Catch-and-release (C&R) is a popular management tool that can support sustainable development of recreational fisheries, if anglers adopt scientifically informed “best practices.” However, although the role of best practices is widely established in the academic literature, this knowledge is not always disseminated to anglers. In this paper, we investigated if and to what extent local management organizations provided best practice information to anglers. Based on a sample of 331 Swedish organizations, we reviewed the websites through which these organizations sold fishing licenses. Our review demonstrated widespread use of C&R as a management tool yet a general lack of best practice information. Among the small fraction of organizations that mentioned best practices, most mentioned only a single practice, with little consistency among practices that received attention. In addition, best practice information was particularly lacking for pike (Esox Lucius) and perch (Perca fluviatilis), which are by far the most landed and released species nationally. We discovered major knowledge deficiencies that provide insights about where and how to focus efforts for improving best practice information, in the context of local recreational fisheries management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2023
Keywords
C&R science, hierarchical clustering, inland waters, institutional grammar, local management, mandatory C&R
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-507503 (URN)10.1111/fme.12622 (DOI)000961359800001 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2016-00227Swedish Research Council, 2016-00227
Available from: 2023-07-06 Created: 2023-07-06 Last updated: 2024-01-12Bibliographically approved
5. Beyond asking the right questions: Accounting for biases in a recreational fishery survey
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Beyond asking the right questions: Accounting for biases in a recreational fishery survey
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keywords
selection bias, survey research, human dimensions, fishing motivation, fishing satisfaction, multispecies fishery
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-520533 (URN)
Available from: 2024-01-12 Created: 2024-01-12 Last updated: 2024-01-12

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