Could a harvest-based citizen science program be an effective contribution to fisheries research?

Emily Wilmoth, Josh Dumke, Ryan M Hueffmeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We surveyed 105 St. Louis River Estuary (SLRE) ice-anglers near Duluth, MN, USA to quantify their interest in participation in a harvest-based citizen science program. This hypothetical program would allow anglers to participate in the generation of scientific knowledge about their fishery, while still taking their fillets home. It would also provide researchers with specimens, mostly walleye (Sander vitreus), to gather data typically requiring euthanized fish (determining sex prior to spawn, diet studies, otoliths for aging and microchemistry, etc.). Our data suggests that most anglers (96% of in-person responses and 92% of online responses) would be interested in participating if fish processing stations were located close to their ice-fishing location. The majority of anglers (95% of in-person responses and 77% of online responses) indicated that receiving a personalized end-of-season report summarizing the information gained from their fish-harvest contributions would make them more likely to participate. These results imply that the hypothetical program could be successful within the SLRE with the proper selection of locations, advertisement, and plans for sharing information. This study has implications that may be useful for researchers and managers of other fisheries with an ample and engaged angling community. Despite some challenges to this approach, it has the potential to be a legitimate method for acquiring fisheries research materials, and at the same time strengthen anglers’ trust of managing institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalCitizen Science: Theory and Practice
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this project was provided by the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment (project #MF-0022-16).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Keywords

  • Fisheries management
  • Harvest
  • Otolith
  • Participation
  • Recreational anglers
  • Research

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