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Temporal and spatial patterns of angler effort across lake districts and policy options to sustain recreational fisheries

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Studies suggest anglers allocate fishing effort across lakes districts based on fishing quality and travel time resulting in high effort near urban areas, which declines with distance. This results in quality fisheries in remote areas and poorer quality near population centres. In this paper we explore the effectiveness of harvest and effort regulations to counter this tendency for overfishing and stock collapse for a rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) fishery from a lake district in British Columbia, Canada. Our results suggest that daily bag limits can improve fishing quality if the effort is not too high, but fail to prevent collapse close to population centres. The ability of complete catch-and-release regulations to maintain quality fisheries is inversely related to the rate of release mortality. Catch-and-release fisheries with low mortality can maintain quality close to large cities, whereas higher release mortality does not prevent collapse. Direct fishing effort limitation can maintain quality fisheries, but a high proportional reduction in effort is required to maintain quality near population centres. Explicit consideration of the location of fisheries within lake districts is necessary to design effective management approaches and will likely require a mixed strategy with substantial spatial variation in harvest control.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Fisheries Centre, The University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Publication date: February 20, 2012

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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