Fishing in the dark: the science and management of recreational fisheries at night
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Fishing in the dark: the science and management of recreational fisheries at night

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  • Journal Title:
    Bulletin of Marine Science
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  • Description:
    Recreational fishing is a popular activity around the globe, generating billions of dollars in economic benefit based on fisheries in marine and inland waters. In most developed countries, recreational fisheries are managed to achieve diverse objectives and ensure that such fisheries are sustainable. While many anglers fish during daylight hours, some target fish species during the night. Indeed, sensory physiology of some species makes them vulnerable to capture at night, while being more difficult to capture during the day. However, night creates a number of challenges for recreational fisheries assessment and management. In some jurisdictions, fishing is prohibited at night (through both effort and harvest controls) or there are specific restrictions placed on night fisheries (e.g., no use of artificial lights). Here, we summarize the science and management of recreational fisheries at night covering both inland and marine realms. In doing so, we also provide a review of different angling regulations specific to night fisheries across the globe, as well as the basis for those regulations. We discuss the extent to which there is both need and opportunity to actively manage anglers who are targeting fish at night and how this differs from fisheries that occur during lighted periods. We provide two case studies, one for white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, 1836) and one for walleye [Sander vitreus (Mitchill, 1818)], for which nighttime closures have been used as a fisheries management tool to control effort and harvest (illegal harvest in the case of the sturgeon case study). Based on the synthesis, we conclude that natural resource management agencies should decide if and how they need to manage recreational fisheries at night, recognizing the practical challenges (e.g., compliance monitoring, stock assessment) with doing so in the dark.
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  • Source:
    Bull Mar Sci. 93(2):519–538. 2017
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    Accepted Manuscript
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