Research Publication

Understanding recreational angler diversity and its potential implications on promoting responsible fishing practices in a multispecies Gulf of Maine fishery

By Connor W. Capizzano, Emily A. Jones, Steven B. Scyphers, Douglas R. Zemeckis, Andy J. Danylchuk, John W. Mandelman

Originally published in Marine and Coastal Fisheries in February 2022



Recent work in the Gulf of Maine multispecies recreational fishery has established responsible fishing practices that anglers can use to reduce bycatch and the discard mortality of three key groundfish species. However, anglers represent a diverse stakeholder group whose backgrounds and experiences may influence how they receive, support, and adopt responsible fishing practices that aim to sustain catch-and-release angling opportunities. We therefore surveyed Gulf of Maine recreational anglers who target groundfish, including Atlantic Cod Gadus morhua, Haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus, and Cusk Brosme brosme, to assess whether differences among anglers influenced how likely anglers were to voluntarily adopt or consider adopting responsible fishing practices and which information channels they used to obtain such information. By broadly sampling Gulf of Maine recreational fishing license holders via an online survey, we collected responses from 306 respondents who targeted groundfish in some capacity; several topics, including fishing activity and experience, responsible fishing practices, information channels, and sociodemographics, were addressed in the survey. A latent class cluster analysis found that respondents who participate in this regional fishery can be broadly categorized into three distinct classes (Striped Bass [Morone saxatilis] Enthusiasts, All-rounders, and Offshore Groundfishers) from their primary fishing mode and target species. Despite the presence of these latent classes, class membership did not affect how likely respondents were to voluntarily adopt or consider adopting species-specific fishing practices from previous scientific investigations. However, class membership was observed to influence how respondents used information channels to receive angling information, with Offshore Groundfishers relying more often on captains and crew than the other classes. Therefore, to promote responsible fishing practices alongside regulations, we recommend that fishery managers use a mixed outreach program to effectively communicate and engage with this portion of the community until more directed studies can be conducted.

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Affiliated Authors
  • Emily Jones

    Emily Jones, Scientific Program Officer, Fisheries Science and Emerging Technologies Program, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life

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  • expert

    John Mandelman, PhD, Vice President and Chief Scientist, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life

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