Environmental Management

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 165–175 | Cite as

Angling into the Future: Ten Commandments for Recreational Fisheries Science, Management, and Stewardship in a Good Anthropocene

  • Laura K. ElmerEmail author
  • Lisa A. Kelly
  • Stephanie Rivest
  • S. Clay Steell
  • William M. Twardek
  • Andy J. Danylchuk
  • Robert Arlinghaus
  • Joseph R. Bennett
  • Steven J. Cooke


A new geological epoch, the “Anthropocene”, has been defined as the period in which humans have had substantial geological and ecological influence on the planet. A positive future for this epoch can be referred to as the “good Anthropocene” and would involve effective management strategies and changes in human behavior that promote the sustainability and restoration of ecosystems. Recreational fisheries hold significant social, cultural, and economic value and can generate many benefits when managed sustainably and thus be an integral part of a “good Anthropocene”. Here, we list ten commandments to facilitate persistence and long-term sustainability of recreational fisheries in the “good Anthropocene”. This list includes fostering aquatic stewardship, promoting education, using appropriate capture gear, adopting evidence-based management approaches, promoting the concept of resilience, obtaining and using effort data in management, embracing the ecosystem approach, engaging in multilevel collaboration, enhancing accessibility, and embracing optimism. When used singly, or simultaneously, these ten commandments will contribute to the harmonization of sustainable fish populations and angling practices, to create recreational fisheries’ “bright spots”.


Recreational fishing Anthropocene Sustainability Management Commandments 



We thank the many members of the recreational fishing community who have helped to shape our thinking.


Cooke is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canada Research Chairs Program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura K. Elmer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lisa A. Kelly
    • 1
  • Stephanie Rivest
    • 2
  • S. Clay Steell
    • 1
  • William M. Twardek
    • 1
  • Andy J. Danylchuk
    • 3
  • Robert Arlinghaus
    • 4
  • Joseph R. Bennett
    • 5
  • Steven J. Cooke
    • 1
  1. 1.Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology and Institute of Environmental ScienceCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Department of Environmental ConservationUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biology and Ecology of Fishes, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries & Division of Integrative Fisheries Management, Faculty of Life Sciences & Integrative Research Institute on Transformation of Human-Environment SystemsHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  5. 5.Institute of Environmental Science and Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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