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Wednesday, January 30 • 11:00am - 11:20am
(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: FISHERIES 2) Role of Environmental Context and Individual Behavioral Type on Angling Vulnerability

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AUTHORS: Toniann D. Keiling, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Michael J. Louison, McKendree University; Cory D. Suski, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: Global recreational fishing involves millions of anglers capturing millions of fish, and has the potential to negatively impact fish populations either through direct means (i.e. through incidental mortality or harvest), or through indirect means, such as the removal of specific behavioral types. At present, the specific mechanism(s) that define why fish strike fishing lures are unknown, as are how environmental factors influence catch rates. Understanding the factors that motivate fish to strike a lure will not only help predict catch rates, but will also help define how fisheries mortality and harvest can shape populations. The goal of this study was to define how behavioral type and prey availability interact to influence angling vulnerability, using largemouth bass as a model. To accomplish this goal, we first performed behavior assays on largemouth bass to place them along a ‘bold’ vs. ‘shy’ continuum, and then transferred fish to one of two ponds, one with a generous supply of prey (fathead minnows) and the other with no prey. Largemouth bass in the ponds were then angled for 8 days. Results indicated that prey availability only weakly influenced capture success in ponds. Rather, size (total length) was the strongest predictor of fish capture with larger fish more likely to strike lures, despite the fact that mean size varied by only 1.2 cm across captured and uncaptured individuals. Results are further discussed in the context of angling vulnerability, and how selective harvest may shape fish populations and aquatic ecosystems.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am

Attendees (7)