Anglers’ emotions towards shark depredation are key to conservation
In a large-scale study recently published in Fisheries research, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst quantified emotional and behavioral responses to shark depredation in recreational fisheries. The study found that anglers, and especially recreational fishing guides, who experienced depredation were more likely to have a negative response to sharks and therefore were more likely to target sharks for harvest. additional.
Imagine hooking up the big fish, a trophy fish, to be eaten by another sea creature before you can roll it up. When this happens, it is called depredation. While there are many animals that engage in depredation, recent attention has focused on sharks in part because decades of shark conservation efforts have seen some populations rebound, but also because the Saltwater angling is increasingly popular. Simply put, with more sharks in the water and more people circling in the fish, there is a greater chance of conflict.
“We know sharks are very susceptible to overfishing,” said Grace Casselberry, lead author of the study and graduate student in environmental conservation at UMass Amherst. “If depredation contributes to the belief that sharks are a threat, we run the risk of stressing shark populations through retaliatory actions that include overexploitation. This study reflects what concerns fishermen and where we researchers and managers need to start thinking about solving this conservation problem, for both sharks and predated fish. “
Over the course of six months, Casselberry and her team distributed a detailed survey to recreational saltwater fishermen and guides in North America and received over 541 respondents. The survey asked a number of questions, including which species of fish had been predated, how the experience of depredation affected the angler or guide, and whether or not the experience altered the subsequent fishing behavior of the fish. fisherman or guide. “No one really checked with the fishermen and the guides themselves,” says Casselberry. “It is unfortunate, because you can get very valuable information from the fishing guides because they are on the water every day.”
The team found that depredation is a common occurrence: more than 77% of those polled said they had had a fish caught by a shark at least once in the past five years. Of this group, well over half had seen more than 20 depredation events during the same time period, and 72% had actually seen the shark take its catch. “It is imperative that we understand the rates of depredation, the species of fish and sharks involved, and how these events drive participant reactions that fuel global conservation concerns,” said Andy Danylchuk, conservation professor at the environment at UMass Amherst and a co-author of the study.
They also found a big difference in the emotional and behavioral responses of fishermen and guides. While anglers were more likely than guides to experience a sense of dread or even excitement when witnessing shark depredation, guides, who tended to experience depredation more frequently, were very much more likely to feel anger, distress and sadness. Perhaps more importantly, the guides interviewed were extremely likely to respond to depredation by harvesting sharks in the hopes of reducing their numbers and thereby protecting the fish stocks they are targeting.
While the solution to protecting both sharks and the experiences and livelihoods of the recreational fishing community is not straightforward, Casselberry notes that any response must consider the human dimension: “The management community must work proactively with fishermen and guides. to help them understand why we need sharks in our coastal waters, and to work with them to design management strategies that address their concerns. ”
New study suggests that educating anglers may benefit sharks
Grace A. Casselberry et al, When fishing bites: Understanding angler responses to shark depredation, Fisheries research (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.fishres.2021.106174
Provided by the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Quote: Jaws of Defeat: Fishermen’s Emotions Toward Shark Depredation Key to Conservation (2021, November 26) Retrieved November 26, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-11- jaws-defeat-anglers-emotions-shark. html
This document is subject to copyright. Other than fair use for private study or research purposes, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for information only.