About the Project

Human dimensions of fisheries management

Welcome to our website! We are an interdisciplinary team of researchers focused on understanding the reasons why people make decisions about fisheries management, including issues around angler participation, use of aquatic ecosystems, and the unintentional spread of aquatic invasive species. We are housed in the van Riper Research Group at the University of Illinois, but also collaborate with researchers in the Center for Conservation Social Sciences, Fish Lab, Sport Fish Ecology Lab, Shedd Aquarium, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  We have been engaging anglers and boaters across the Great Lakes Basin since 2016 with support from the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, and the IL Department of Natural Resources. Our work has primarily focused on conducting mixed methods research to provide insight on how best to support evidence based decision-making about recreational use of freshwater ecosystems. Currently, we are studying: 1) enforcement of aquatic invasive species by conservation police officers, and 2) trends in recruitment, retention and reactivation of recreational anglers across the state of Illinois. All of our work involves close collaboration with biologists, resource management agencies, and fishery interest groups to enhance communication strategies and identify pathways for motivating people to act more consistently on their belief systems. It is our hope that the outcomes of this research will benefit fish populations, freshwater ecosystems and human communities committed in the Midwestern US.

A group of previous survey respondents after a fishing tournament in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois (2017).

This research is supported by: