Recreational fishing constitutes the main use of wild fish stocks in most freshwater and many coastal ecosystems of all industrialized countries. As in commercial fisheries, overexploitation by recreational anglers is not uncommon, though it often remains invisible because of poor monitoring. The links between recreational fishers, spatially structured fish populations, managers, and other stakeholders are intimate and empirically tractable as individual interactions (e.g., heterogeneous anglers exploiting a fishery). However, complex feedbacks among interactions that cross scales generate outcomes that are difficult to predict from knowledge of a subset of interactions. Recreational fisheries thus represent an ideal case study for investigating the dynamics of tightly coupled social-ecological systems.
This project will work toward developing a conceptual framework for management of recreational fisheries as social-ecological systems, and critically discuss the most salient destabilizing features of such systems and how to manage them for sustainability and resiliency.