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Keywords:

  • Angler-effort dynamics;
  • bioeconomic model;
  • density-dependent compensation;
  • life history;
  • optimal management;
  • utility

Abstract

To predict recreational-fishing impacts on freshwater fish species, it is important to understand the interplay between fish populations, anglers and management actions. We use an integrated bioeconomic model to study the importance of fish life-history type (LHT) for determining (i) vulnerability to over-exploitation by diverse angler types (generic, consumptive and trophy anglers), who respond dynamically to fishing-quality changes; (ii) regulations [i.e., minimum-size limits (MSLs) and licence densities] that maximize the social welfare of angler populations; and (iii) biological and social conditions resulting under such socially optimal regulations. We examine five prototypical freshwater species: European perch (Perca fluviatilis), brown trout (Salmo trutta), pikeperch (Sander lucioperca), pike (Esox lucius) and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus). We find that LHT is important for determining the vulnerability of fish populations to overfishing, with pike, pikeperch, and bull trout being more vulnerable than perch and brown trout. Angler type influences the magnitude of fishing impacts, because of differences in fishing practices and angler-type-specific effects of LHT on angling effort. Our results indicate that angler types are systematically attracted to particular LHTs. Socially optimal minimum-size limits generally increase with LHT vulnerability, whereas optimal licence densities are similar across LHTs. Yet, both regulations vary among angler types. Despite this variation, we find that biological sustainability occurs under socially optimal regulations, with one exception. Our results highlight the importance of jointly considering fish diversity, angler diversity and regulations when predicting sustainable management strategies for recreational fisheries. Failure to do so could result in socially suboptimal management and/or fishery collapse.