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

Abstract

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”.

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Acknowledgements

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

Funding

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

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Correspondence to Laura K. Elmer.

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Elmer, L.K., Kelly, L.A., Rivest, S. et al. Angling into the Future: Ten Commandments for Recreational Fisheries Science, Management, and Stewardship in a Good Anthropocene. Environmental Management 60, 165–175 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-017-0895-3

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Keywords

  • Recreational fishing
  • Anthropocene
  • Sustainability
  • Management
  • Commandments