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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 
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Monday, January 28 • 10:40am - 11:00am
(SYMPOSIA-01) Harvest Regulations: What Do We Know, What Do We Need to Know, What Should We Do Next to Develop and Implement Standardized Assessments to Evaluate Harvest Regulations?

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AUTHORS: Quinton Phelps, West Virginia University; Martha Mather, Kansas State University; Daniel Shoup, Oklahoma State University

ABSTRACT: Fisheries managers are tasked with maintaining specific target sportfish populations to provide satisfactory opportunities for anglers. The outcome of this complex management process is variable and depends on characteristics of the ecosystem and population. Of the limited options that are available to alter populations and ultimately influence angler satisfaction, harvest regulations (size or creel limits) are arguably the most common tool. However, when and where harvest regulations work is poorly understood, and at times regulations do not have the effect that is expected. In this talk, we review what we know and do not know about regulation effectiveness and matches and mismatches between regulations and population characteristics. To develop a framework that can be used to decide when a regulation change would be beneficial, we identify criteria on which to base standardized assessments to evaluate harvest regulations. As examples of criteria to consider, prior to implementing a regulation change, standardized fish population assessment data should be used to model the effects of possible regulation changes. Additional, standardized sampling after implementing a regulation change should be used to determine if the desired effect on the population was achieved. In situations where the desired effect is not observed, a secondary series of diagnostics can be implemented to identify the influence of other biotic and abiotic drivers. Even if regulations provide the desired effects, follow-up data to guide our understanding of fish populations and further our understanding of the conditions governing regulation effectiveness is essential. Thus, standardized evaluations of these harvest regulations can yield the same benefits as standardized population assessments and can provide a pathway to learn more about the ecosystem.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST