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Title:Angler satisfaction and management preferences in the southern Lake Michigan fishery
Author(s):Golebie, Elizabeth J
Advisor(s):Miller, Craig A.; Czesny, Sergiusz J.
Department / Program:Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline:Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Angler satisfaction
Angler typology
Lake Michigan
Human dimensions
Cluster analysis
Management perceptions
Abstract:Successful fisheries management programs incorporate a thorough understanding of diverse angler groups operating within the fishery. This study aimed to classify and describe anglers fishing in Illinois and Indiana waters of Lake Michigan and to use the angler heterogeneity present at the site to approach angler satisfaction and fishery perceptions. The primary objectives were 1) understand the factors that contribute to angler satisfaction in the southern Lake Michigan fishery and 2) develop an understanding of different types of anglers who target salmonid species in the southern Lake Michigan fishery and how they may differ in their perceptions of the fishery and fishery management. A mail and internet questionnaire was distributed to 1309 anglers who had provided contact information during the 2015 Lake Michigan creel survey; 422 responded and completed the survey (32.2% return rate). To analyze satisfaction, anglers were divided into three groups: those targeting salmonid species, those targeting yellow perch, and those targeting minor species. Several differences were found between the three groups, including salmonid anglers having the highest total harvest rates, and yellow perch anglers having the highest harvest of their target species. All anglers were less satisfied with catch-related factors than non-catch related factors. Catch-related factors were also more strongly correlated with overall satisfaction than non-catch related factors. Stepwise linear regression was used to generate models of satisfaction for each of the three target-species groups. For salmon anglers, number of fish biting (β =.722), total group harvest (β =.170), average fish length (β =.120), species caught (β =.130), and opportunity to improve skills (β =.157) were significant; for perch anglers, number of fish biting (β =.455), average weight of fish caught (β=.350), and fighting quality of the fish (β =.224) were significant, and for minor species anglers, only number of fish biting (β =.697) was a significant predictor of overall satisfaction. Although satisfaction with harvest was highly correlated with overall satisfaction for all angler groups, the relationship between actual harvest and overall satisfaction was weak, which reveals the importance of angler perceptions of their harvest at this site. To approach the second goal of the project and investigate management perceptions, the population of salmon anglers was further broken down using a cluster analysis of eight variables commonly used to determine angler specialization. These variables were days fished, years of experience, distance traveled, skill, average trip expenditures, total season expenditures, total relative harvest, and percent of catch that was harvested. Five angler subgroups were produced and termed “local residents,” “avid generalists,” “tourist anglers,” “committed specialists,” and “experienced specialists.” There were several differences in perceptions between anglers of different groups. In general, the tourist anglers had the fewest concerns with the fishery and were the most satisfied, whereas the local residents were concerned with the impact of other anglers, and the two specialist groups were more likely to list invasive species as a problem. Additionally, local residents and tourist anglers believed lake trout populations were declining, while committed specialists and experienced specialists believed they were increasing (F=4.823; df=189; p=.001). Likewise, local residents and tourist anglers preferred an increase in lake trout stocking, while committed specialists and experienced specialists preferred a decrease (F=3.626; df=215; p=.007). The differences found between the anglers of different target species as well as between the salmonid anglers at different commitment and avidity levels underscore the importance of considering angler heterogeneity when designing management plans. Although this study does not estimate the proportion of the total angling population that could be classified into each of these groups, it reveals the existence of these groups and the fishery perceptions that group members are likely to have. Future research is needed to identify angler motivations and management strategies that are most likely to meet the needs of each of the angler groups operating in the Lake Michigan fishery.
Issue Date:2017-04-26
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Elizabeth J. Golebie
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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