Catch-and-release and angler utility: evidence from an Atlantic salmon recreational fishery
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionFisheries Management and Ecology. 2016, 23 (3), 253-263. 10.1111/fme.12167
Catch‐and‐release (C&R) is often regarded as a win–win management tool in recreational fisheries. As long as release mortality is low, C&R may ensure both sustainable fish stocks and a large recreational fishing sector. Hence, apparently both the targeted fish populations and the recreational anglers are better off. However, this depends on fish welfare assumptions as well as angler preferences. While fish welfare is widely studied, angler preferences with respect to C&R are less well understood. This study presents the results from a postal survey studying angler preferences in a Norwegian recreational Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., fishery (n = 244). The results suggest that introducing mandatory C&R regimes may reduce the angler utility by up to 80% in this fishery, and hence advocates caution and suggests surveys should be undertaken before C&R introduction. This study also finds that anglers who report concern about fish population status are more likely to be in favour of C&R.