Perceptions outweigh knowledge in predicting support for management strategies in the recreational Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) fishery
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Perceptions outweigh knowledge in predicting support for management strategies in the recreational Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) fishery

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  • Journal Title:
    Marine Policy
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    Considering that recreational fisheries represent tightly bound social-ecological systems, the development of effective and holistic policy should involve the consideration of stakeholder interests and behaviors. Yet, integrating stakeholders’ input in fisheries management requires understanding and representing their different values, attitudes, and beliefs. Using survey data from recreational Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) anglers in Massachusetts, this study examined relationships among angler knowledge and perceptions, fishing characteristics, and support for various fishery management measures (e.g., slot limit, reduced bag limits). Results revealed that most anglers underestimated the age at which female Striped Bass reach sexual maturity and the age at which Striped Bass grow to 40” in length. Estimated ages for both metrics increased with fishing experience, but estimates were not influenced by other angler characteristics. Importantly, while precise knowledge of Striped Bass age at maturity (i.e., proximity to actual age at maturity according to the literature) was not correlated with support for more restrictive fishing policies, anglers that believed Striped Bass mature at older ages (i.e., angler perceptions) were more supportive of these policies. Given that a large majority of anglers underestimate Striped Bass age at maturity, initiatives to communicate Striped Bass biology to the angling public could further enhance support. Collectively, these findings illustrate how stakeholder perceptions may influence angler support for fisheries management policies.
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    Marine Policy, 97, 44-50
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    Accepted Manuscript
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