Fisheries and Wildlife as Coupled Human and Natural Systems


8:00AM Evaluating Great Lakes Fisheries Ecosystems As Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS)
  William Taylor
Fish and their allied fisheries are critical components of Great Lakes ecosystems, providing essential goods and services that generate social and economic benefits currently valued at over 7 billion dollars annually. The future health of these fisheries depends largely on our willingness to recognize that their structure and function are a result of their social and ecological interactions both within and outside the Great Lakes basin. By evaluating these systems holistically as Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS), we can strengthen our abilities to manage these resources. CHANS analysis provides for the needed holistic perspective that incorporates interactions between ecological and social systems, thereby providing the basis for enhanced knowledge and effective management actions by citizens and policy makers that result in highly valued, sustainable fisheries. A promising new approach to link these systems is to use a telecoupling framework that links social ecological systems over space and time. This is only possible through understanding the dynamics of all jurisdictions and sectors related to the fisheries supply chain, thereby benefiting both the fisheries but also the people that depend on these resources.
8:20AM Wildlife Poaching in the Context of Coupled Human and Natural Systems
  Tutilo Mudumba
Subsistence poaching threatens wildlife populations worldwide as well as the well-being of people, who participate in poaching. Effectiveness of wildlife conservation depends on local perceptions of wildlife and wildlife managers, yet little is known or understood in regards to how subsistence poaching functions as a component of coupled human and natural systems or how to influence rates of poaching. We assessed the context and consequences of subsistence poaching in communities surrounding Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda. We assessed the acceptability of used to poach nine species of wildlife in the national park. Perceived conflict with wildlife was the most important factor determining attitudes towards poaching and the tools of the trade. Our results affirm current beliefs that a primary determinant for poaching acceptance among people living alongside wildlife species is the limited flow of benefits for local communities from protected areas. Less than 20% of the respondents living within 5 km of the park boundary indicated they ever had been inside the park for any reason. The ability of local wildlife managers to address poaching lies with providing remedies compatible with local livelihoods and conditions to mitigate subsistence poaching.
8:40AM Social-Ecological Catchments
  Mark A. Kaemingk
Social and ecological systems are strongly coupled through space and time, creating social-ecological catchments (i.e., distributions of humans that use ecological resources on the landscape). Understanding how humans use patchily distributed ecological resources is important for conservation and management. Our aim was to evaluate dynamics in angler-catchment size for recreational fisheries. We used angler residence zip code to assess how the spatial draw of anglers changed seasonally across 7 Nebraska waterbodies. Seasonal changes in angler participation, fish populations, and angler-fish interactions were expected to create dynamic patterns in catchment area. Contrary to a priori expectations, angler-waterbody catchments did not vary through seasons. We interpret these findings to suggest that social-ecological catchments are highly structured and predictable. The underlying spatial structure–distance among human populations and ecological resources–may govern and stabilize these relationships. Quantifying social-ecological catchments could provide great insight for preventing the spread of invasive species, selection of public meeting sites, and designing and implementing management regulations.
9:00AM Ecological Dynamics and Adaptive Management of Fisheries and Wildlife in a Coupled Social-Ecological System in a Central African Flooded Forest
  Mitchell Eaton
For resource-dependent communities, complex socio-ecological interactions may be vulnerable to changes in market conditions, nonstationary environmental dynamics, or social disruption. To understand the effect of these interactions and drivers on coupled systems, we have proposed an integrative study of a human-wildlife-fisheries system in the peat-swamp forests of northern Republic of Congo. This mosaic of seasonally flooded primary rainforest and savannas harbors important wildlife populations and provides ecosystem services, food security and income to subsistence-based inhabitants. We hypothesize that an apex predator, ecosystem engineer and cultural keystone species, the Congo dwarf crocodile, exerts both top-down and bottom-up regulatory control of a complex flooded-forest food web. Human harvest of crocodiles and a diverse fishery regulates multiple trophic levels, causing unknown cascades. Human population growth, ‘telecoupled’ market forces, and climate change amplify these effects and threaten resource sustainability, ecosystem services, and food security. Our research into the motivations driving resource exploitation, the impacts to harvested stocks, and feedback mechanisms among trophic levels will provide inference on the processes governing coupled systems. We will place this understanding of complex interactions within and between human and environmental systems in the context of local political economy, governance structures and the capacity to adaptively manage these dynamics.
9:20AM Emerging Threats in an Ancient Context: Indigenous Knowledge of Pacific Salmon and Perspectives on Management
  Andrea Reid
Pacific salmon (genus Oncorhynchus) and the social–ecological systems they underpin face growing threats. Increasingly, unconventional data sources are being used to inform fisheries research and management as traditional approaches alone fail to arrest declines. In this study, Indigenous Elders across British Columbia, Canada, were interviewed about observed changes in Pacific salmon over the last ~70 years, major drivers of change, and consequent shifts in consumptive and cultural practices. Semi-directed, audio-recorded interviews were conducted with 48 Elders from 18 First Nations communities. All but one respondent reported a substantial decrease in the abundance and health of salmon since the 1950s. Six factors were identified as leading drivers of decline, each with nearly equal weighted scores based on their assigned ranks and frequency listed: aquaculture; mining and development; climate change; water pollution; predation; and infectious disease. Factors relating to the fishing industry (commercial fishing; recreational fishing; fisheries bycatch; poaching; and First Nations fishing) when pooled together represented less than one-quarter of the total weight. Respondents connected salmon declines with losses in specific fishing practices and related knowledge, particularly among youth. Other themes emerging from this work include: waste avoidance principles; tenure systems and stewardship; and vast interconnectedness between environments and people.
09:40AM Break
1:10PM Metacoupled Fisheries: Integrating Ecosystems and Human Systems across Space and Time to Enhance Fisheries Management
  Andrew Carlson
Fisheries are social-ecological systems that span geographic space and time. However, most fisheries research has focused on understanding fish ecology or human dimensions at specific locations and times, rather than evaluating the spatio-temporal interactions and synergies that ultimately regulate fisheries productivity and its value. As globalization accelerates, fisheries increasingly exhibit metacouplings: human-nature interactions within and between adjacent and distant systems. For instance, metacouplings in the Peruvian anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) and Great Lakes salmonine fisheries include fish production, fish products, monetary flow, and knowledge transfer at local, regional, and international levels. We used the metacoupling framework to depict and quantify human-aquatic linkages in marine and freshwater systems throughout the world. These fisheries demonstrated how the metacoupling framework facilitates systematic evaluation of local and distant fisheries interactions and their effects on fisheries production, better enabling managers to design socially and ecologically informed fisheries management strategies. For example, we illustrate how anchoveta and salmonine policy and management would benefit from incorporating metacouplings and capitalizing on their beneficial social-ecological linkages. Promoting detailed understanding of human-nature interactions, the metacoupling framework advances knowledge derived from traditional monothematic research approaches and represents a tool for fisheries management across local, regional, and international levels.
1:30PM Changing Agroecosystems and Impacts on Biodiversity in a Food Importing Country
  Ciara Hovis
International food trade drives land use/cover change, which has consequences for species that utilize agroecosystems. The majority of trade-driven land use change studies focus on countries that produce and export agriculture goods. Importing countries, however, undergo more subtle land cover/use shifts as imports have substantial effects on domestic crop prices, thereby impacting farmer decision-making. The impacts on agroecosystems, however, are not well understood. To explore these effects, we sampled birds across the agricultural region of Heilongjiang Province in Northeastern China. Heilongjiang produces a third of China’s grains and demonstrates the national trend of decreased soy production due to massive soy imports (>60% of global soybean imports). Using high resolution imagery to capture the maximum amount of landscape heterogeneity relevant to birds, we calculated landscape metrics (both compositional and configurational) at various scales which were then used to model bird community diversity. Over 40 species were identified across the sampled region, and preliminary results show increased landscape compositional diversity supports higher species diversity, whereas increased configurational diversity sometimes decreases biodiversity. These results demonstrate the multifunctionality of agroecosystems and provide a better understanding of how landscape characteristics optimize the sustainability of agricultural regions in terms of benefits to both humans and wildlife.
1:50PM Mapping Lake Malawi Fish Value Chains to Understand Distributional Dimensions of Fisheries Livelihoods and Food Security
  Abigail Bennett
This study undertakes a spatially explicit value chain analysis to better understand the livelihood and food security implications of fisheries change. In Lake Malawi, catches of economically important tilapia species (chambo) have declined while catches in small pelagic species (e.g., usipa) that provide an affordable source of micronutrient-rich protein have increased, mirroring a broader trend in African large lakes and reservoirs in which pelagic species now make up around three quarters of total catch by volume. Understanding the implications of these and other changes for livelihoods and food security is an important foundation for developing appropriate policy responses. However, existing knowledge on the flow of benefits from fisheries is scarce. By integrating survey and GIS data, this study compares value chains for chambo and usipa across dimensions of spatial distribution, gender dynamics, income, and food security. The analysis can inform policy investment decisions where resources are limited and impacts on livelihoods and food security are crucial considerations. More broadly, spatially specifying flows of fish and associated benefits from ecosystems to households constitutes an innovative approach to examining linkages in social-ecological systems that is attentive to social and political economic nuance.
2:10PM The Changing Nature of the Great Lakes Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) Supply Chain and Implications for Their Value
  So-Jung Youn
Lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) are an iconic and historically important commercial fishery in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Little information is available, however, regarding the movement of harvested lake whitefish or consumer valuation of lake whitefish products. Changes in habitat conditions and interactions with invasive species over the past 30 years has contributed to fluctuating abundances and harvests of lake whitefish populations in this region. These changing abundances may have affected both the lake whitefish supply chain and consumers’ valuation of lake whitefish products by affecting the availability and quality of lake whitefish products available to consumers. Using the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM) Mechanism to determine customer’s willingness-to-pay (WTP) for lake whitefish products and through semi-structured interviews, we explored Great Lakes lake whitefish supply chains and identified consumer preferences for various characteristics of lake whitefish products (e.g. product origin; lake whitefish harvested from the Great Lakes vs. Canadian inland lakes). Understanding where lake whitefish go after harvest, and which characteristics of lake whitefish products are valued by consumers, will provide insight into ways to strengthen the lake whitefish supply chain and increase the economic values of lake whitefish for producers and consumers.
2:30PM Quantifying the Allocation of Angling Effort across a Fisheries Landscape
  Ashley Trudeau
Studying recreational fisheries as social-ecological systems requires understanding how anglers decide between a range of fishing opportunities. Traditional creel surveys are used to estimate catch and effort on individual lakes, but this method is too costly to apply over an entire fisheries landscape. Here we describe a model integrating data from creel surveys, instantaneous boat-based counts, and aerial imagery collected from many lakes in Vilas County, a highly-forested, lake-rich region of northern Wisconsin. This historical fishing destination is home to over 1300 lakes, so anglers have many choices of potential fishing sites. This generalized linear mixed model evaluates the allocation of fishing effort across this landscape as a response to variables that influence lakes’ attractiveness to mobile anglers while controlling for nuisance variables such as local weather conditions. The random intercept of this model quantifies variation in lake-specific effort, and it gives a starting point for the estimation of angling effort at unobserved lakes. We find that characteristics such as accessibility, shoreline development, and species presence are predictors of fishing effort. This analysis can be used to improve models of fisheries as complex adaptive systems where anglers allocate effort in response to lake characteristics, heterogeneous preferences, and sharing of information.
2:50PM Refreshment Break
3:20PM Long Term Trends in Fishery Yield and Effort in Lake Constance, Europe
  J. Tyrell DeWeber
The centuries-old pelagic whitefish Coregonis wartmanni fishery of Lake Constance (Europe) has undergone significant changes in the past century linked to changes in trophic state, fishing gear, species invasions, and socioeconomic factors. Here we describe changes in fisheries yield, regulations and effort since the early 20th century, and link these to trophic state and species invasions. Following a period of recruitment overfishing in the early 1960s, managers attempted to control overfishing by reducing the number of nets, fishing days per week, or number of permits issued. These attempts reduced fishery effort over three-fold in only a few years, from almost 425,000 to 150,000 nets per year in less than 10 years, while catches continued to increase throughout eutrophication. Whitefish yields have steadily declined since the onset of re-oligotrophication and have rapidly declined further following invasion of the pelagic zone by stickleback in the past decade. Fishery effort was estimated to be less than 50,000 nets per year in 2017, while catch per net has also declined in recent years. Future research aims to determine the relative influence of trophic state, density dependence, and invasive three-spine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus on growth rates and population trends using integrated population and bioenergetics modeling.
3:40PM Policy with Teeth: A Global Assessment of Fisheries Initiatives to Reduce Chondricthyan Bycatch
  Melissa Cronin
Global population trends for chondrichthyans are declining at alarming rates, provoking calls for conservation intervention. A growing body of research establishes this group as one of the most bycatch-vulnerable. But many fisheries with the highest chondrichthyan bycatch rates operate in international waters, emphasizing the importance of high seas fisheries management as often the only governance option to reduce this threat. Collectively, tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (tRFMOs) manage a large portion of the high seas, and the lucrative tuna fisheries contained in them. In this work we conduct a semi-quantitative assessment of bycatch policies. We find tRFMO policies designed to explicitly address chondrichthyans is recent; since 1995, 43 policies have been enacted globally. Of those, policies to address shark bycatch are most common; the earliest policy to address ray bycatch was implemented in 2015. These policies cover a range of management interventions to reduce bycatch, but focus mainly on gear mitigation and education, and less on spatial and temporal closures. We also find mismatches in the number of species-specific policies relative to the risk posed by bycatch. This research indicates several important gaps and conservation opportunities exist within high seas fisheries management for bycatch reduction, particularly for threatened chondrichthyan species.
4:00PM Fishing with Pesticides As a Common Practice in Tropical Streams: Literature Review and Case Study from Nicaragua
  Joel T. Betts
The practice of fishing with toxic pesticides for riverine fish and shrimp is an understudied and under-reported problem that occurs throughout the world, particularly in tropical inland fisheries. Very few peer-reviewed studies have documented its impact on people and river ecosystems, and it is infrequently mentioned in grey literature and the news. Therefore, this detrimental fishing practice goes largely unaddressed. This research reviews current records of the practice and provides an in-depth case study from Southeast Nicaragua. Using interviews and focus groups in remote communities in the Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve and its buffer, we documented the prevalence of pesticide fishing, its impacts on river fisheries, and cases of harm to people and livestock. Using this information along with fish survey data, we describe severe declines in harvestable stocks in river fisheries in and around the reserve associated with pesticide fishing, over-harvesting, and habitat loss. We also demonstrate whole ecosystem effects and declines of species of conservation concern. We make the case that pesticide fishing, especially when paired with other impacts, can be a significant contributor to degradation of tropical inland river fisheries.
4:20PM Lake Michigan Coastal Stakeholders’ Risk Perceptions and Motivations for Stewardship
  Julia Whyte
Lake Michigan communities have already begun to feel the effects of climate change, and research suggests that these areas will experience many phenomena that will negatively impact the ecosystem and human livelihoods (GLISA, 2014). While agencies exist to generally guide coastal management, Michigan lacks institutions that establish regulations or requirements for managing the Great Lakes coastal region (Norton et al., 2018). As a result, Michigan’s coastal communities have the responsibility of preparing for an uncertain future under climate change. We compared risk perceptions between different resident groups, as well as between different communities, varying by county, size, and presence of a previous coastal resiliency program. We used a four-wave tailored design for data collection (Dillman, 2009) in six Michigan communities. We found communities with resiliency programs are less concerned about coastal risk than other communities and lake residents are more concerned about coastal risk than municipal officials. We also found that previous experience with environmental risk and gender are predictors of concern about coastal risk. We suggest that future educational materials focus on lake residents and that community-engaged work to create more robust coastal resilience plans are beneficial to mitigating risk perceptions.
4:40PM Spatially Predicting Social Acceptance of Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) Along Key Dispersal Corridors
  Abigail Sage
Connectivity has become one of the great conservation challenges of this time. People living within ecological corridors vary in their tolerance and willingness to share landscapes with wildlife, which could have serious implications for animal movement. However, social factors and their spatial patterns are rarely considered when planning for connectivity. To address this knowledge gap, we surveyed 524 ranchers in the High Divide region of Idaho and Montana on their attitudes towards grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) – a threatened species heavily dependent on corridors as they expand their geographic range in the Intermountain West. By integrating survey responses with various spatial predictors, we modeled and spatially predicted human acceptance of grizzlies. Acceptance was found to be positively related to the area of the wildland-urban interface and number of conservation easements surrounding the ranch, and negatively associated with increasing distance from current grizzly extent. Our map provides spatially-explicit information for targeted, preemptive conflict mitigation and a baseline for examining spatiotemporal changes in attitude as grizzly bear populations expand in the region. Integrating social factors into spatial connectivity planning may alter how organizations approach land owners and allow for a more holistic, sustainable approach to connectivity and conservation decision making.

Organizers: Andrew Carlson, William W. Taylor, Abigail Bennett, Jianguo Liu
Supported by: Michigan State University AgBioResearch, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, United States Geological Survey

Location: Reno-Sparks CC Date: September 30, 2019 Time: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm