Managing Recreational Fisheries

Full Title

Managing recreational fisheries as complex adaptive social-ecological systems


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.

Project Type
Team Synthesis Project
Principal Investigators
Olaf Jensen, Rutgers University
Michael Wilberg, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Robert Arlinghaus, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries
Joshua Abbott, Arizona State University
Stephen R. Carpenter
Emma Fuller, Princeton University
Len Hunt, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Nigel Lester, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Mike Manfredo, Colorado State University
John Post, University of Calgary
Annica Sandström, Luleå University of Technology
James Watson, Princeton University, Stockholm Resilience Centre

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