Angling for Insight: Examining the Recreational Fishing Community's Knowledge, Perceptions, Practices, and Preferences to Inform Rockfish Recovery Planning in Puget Sound, Washington
Sawchuk, Jennifer Heibult
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An ever-growing body of literature highlights the importance of understanding user groups and stakeholders in conjunction with biological information to manage and recover threatened or endangered species. Stakeholder support is especially important to manage less charismatic or "little known" species. A representative survey of boat-based anglers (n = 443) was developed to this end with respect to rockfish (Sebastes spp.) in Puget Sound, Washington. Survey results discuss anglers' relative knowledge of rockfish life history, regulations, and species familiarity; perceptions about threats to rockfish; fishing practices; and preferences for recovery measures. Findings indicated that support for rockfish recovery was associated with anglers who historically fished for rockfish, yet few anglers took specific fishing trips to target them. Preferences for rockfish recovery measures among anglers varied. Multiple logistic regression analysis demonstrated that knowledge of rockfish life history was a significant explanatory variable for only some recovery preferences, namely for marine protected areas. Additionally, perceptions of rockfish threat type were the most important explanatory variables for recovery preferences - more important than rockfish knowledge, fishing experience, group association, or other demographic variables. Findings can inform managers' planning as they seek methods to: 1) encourage rockfish conservation through targeted education, 2) obtain more accurate records of self-reported released catch, 3) bridge gaps between scientific evidence and commonly-held beliefs, and 4) increase the efficacy of future management actions.
- Marine affairs