Buffet management strategies to improve social value and fish conservation

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 consider the diversity of fishing opportunities across landscapes (such as lake-rich landscapes) it is possible to vary regulations, provide amenities or stock fish in a way that will provide something for everyone. But how do we provide those opportunities to maximize value?

We use a landscape social-ecological simulation model to evaluate various strategies for providing a ‘buffet’ of opportunities across landscapes of fisheries. The buffet 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); Robert Arlinghaus (Liebniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries)

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)

Optimal control strategies for invasive species

Invasive species often result in large impacts to ecological, social and economic systems worldwide. Determining the best strategy for controlling or eradicating invasive species depends on the efficacy of different strategies and the objectives of the program. We have begun working with various management agencies using structured decision making to develop response programs to invasive species using the new PVAINVAS program, a stochastic model that calculates the relative probability of extirpation under any particular control strategy. We are currently packaging PVAINVAS as a Shiny app (to be distributed on CRAN soon). This program is now being implemented as part of a structured decision making process.

Collaborator: Martina Beck (BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy