Determining management preferences in a multimethod consumptive recreational fishery
Mackay, M and Yamazaki, S and Lyle, JM and Ogier, EM, Determining management preferences in a multimethod consumptive recreational fishery, Ecology and Society, 25, (2) Article 22. ISSN 1708-3087 (2020) [Refereed Article]
Understanding behavioral responses of recreational fishers to management changes is fundamental for effective policy making. However, given the diverse motivations and nonmarket nature of recreational fishing, evaluating fishers’ preferences is nontrivial. This study examined fishers’ management preferences toward different management tools (i.e., a new measure or a change in the setting for an existing measure) in a highly consumptive recreational fishery. A combination of a discrete choice experiment and an opinion-based survey explored the potential heterogeneity in management preferences in the Tasmanian Rock Lobster fishery. Although the fishery has extensive management in place, further restrictions are required to limit recreational harvest in support of a strategy to achieve a stock rebuilding target. As a diverse fishery, with various fishing methods and a range of activity levels, it is expected that the perceptions of management changes vary across fisher subgroups. A phone survey was used to ask fishers’ opinions on how effective different management tools are at restricting catch and if they supported or opposed the tool. Additionally, a discrete choice experiment was used to assess if fishers’ utility is associated with a management tool and to what extent fishers are willing to trade a change in one management tool for a change in another. Results show that there are both homogenous and heterogeneous management preferences in the fishery across fisher subgroups. There was consensual aversion by all fisher subgroups toward changes in management settings that directly limit the catch of lobster, including a reduction in daily bag limit and shortened season length. Other changes to management settings, such as an increase in the minimum size limit, have less consensus in preference between fisher groups, and any changes in these tools could differentially impact fisher subgroups. The results from this research can support managers in identifying whether and to what extent intra-sector separation for the purposes of designing and implementing new management measures and settings is warranted, on the basis that it can increase effectiveness of achieving management and the likelihood of maximizing net utility within a fishery.