Diversified management to improve social value and angler satisfaction

Anglers are diverse – each angler is looking for different fishing opportunities (balancing, fish size, harvest opportunities, catch rates, amenities) and have different impacts on the resource (harvest rates, size sampling). Providing fishing opportunities that satisfy the ‘average angler’ are likely to leave many anglers unsatisfied and may cause declines in fishing effort or participation. However, if we caonsider the diversity of fishing opportunities across landscapes (such as lake-rich landscapes) it is possible to vary regulations in a way that will provide something for everyone. But how do we set those regulations to maximize value?

We use a landscape social-ecological simulation model to evaluate various strategies for setting regulations across landscapes of fisheries. Regulations could be set based on the one-size-fits-all strategy, based on expected fisheries sought by each angler typology, based on the fisheries one can create based on the biology of each population, or using a diversified approach. The diversified approach means each population gets a unique regulation, but the outcome of that population is viewed in context of the entire landscape of fisheries. In this complex landscape, there are no simple solutions – only through active manipulation of regulations and adaptive management and monitoring can value be maximized.

Collaborators: Ed Camp (University of Florida)

Best monitoring practice to assess bull trout status

Bull trout are a conservation concern across much of their range. Within BC, they are blue-listed, but most populations are not listed under COSEWIC either because they are healthy or data-deficient. For populations with no reliable information to assess status, decisions on how to monitor will depend on 1) cost of accessing the site (many are helicopter-access only); and 2) the reliability of a monitoring strategy in predicting population status. We will evaluate the variance in a variety of monitoring methods and produce a decision-support tool to help biologists weigh cost of monitoring with benefits of reliable data and assessment models.

Collaborators: John Post and Fiona Johnston (University of Calgary)

Balancing kokanee and sockeye in a mixed resident-anadromous population

Many rivers have been historically dammed to store water and/or generate power. In coastal systems, this often results in the extirpation of anadromous species. Many of the resultant reservoirs are now home to kokanee populations (the resident form of sockeye salmon) and when given the opportunity to migrate past the dam, a proportion of these fish do leave and return as anadromous sockeye. As pressure to allow salmon unassisted passage past dams, it is important to evaluate the impact on the resident kokanee (many of which now provide important recreational fishery opportunities) and predict the expected return size of sockeye. Not all kokanee choose to smolt to the ocean, so what is the genetic heritability of smolting? How does uncertainty in smolting affect the decision on whether to invest in, and build fish passage infrastructure? We are examining data from Alouette Reservoir to answer these questions and provide information that can be used in decisions on how to invest in the system and other similar systems along the coast.

Collaborators: Shannon Harris; Allison Hebert