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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 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
(SYMPOSIA-01) Using Standardized Assessments to Evaluate Harvest Regulations in Illinois: Let's Start the Discussion

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AUTHORS: Michael J. Mounce, Division of Fisheries, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Division of Fisheries in the Illinois Department of Natural Resources lists specific protocol in our Manual of Operations for standardized sampling methods for the evaluation of both fish populations and the success of stocked fish. We do not have standardized methods specified for evaluating harvest regulations. Our biologists realize that this would be a valuable tool. The Division of Fisheries does have a standard form for submitting harvest regulations requests/suggestions for review by piers, mid-level managers, and finally approval by the Chief of Fisheries. This form does not include any request or requirements for evaluating the suggested regulation. The AFS book, "Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes" suggested sampling methods for specific species would be a great foundation if these methods can be employed prior to implementing the harvest regulation. Effectively and adequately collecting data about the "three" rate functions, recruitment, growth, and mortality, is critical. The estimation of angler mortality is a critical component of any harvest regulation proposal. Angler harvest/creel surveys should be the foundation of any harvest regulation proposal and evaluation, as the success of any regulation will only be realized where angling mortality is a/the critical factor in limiting the quality or viability of a fishery. Many state agencies, including the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, are facing staffing and funding shortages for a wide variety of reasons and this affects their ability to critically evaluate the effectiveness of harvest regulations, or propose and implement new sampling protocol. However, the development of methods and tools (supporting software) to appropriately propose and evaluate harvest regulations would be highly valuable asset to fisheries managers, the resources they manage, the agencies and constituents they work for, and ultimately the communities that benefit economically from fisheries with greater stability and improved quality.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST