About the Project

Understanding Angler Behaviors that Influence the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

Effective fisheries management requires knowledge of how and why people are contributing to the spread of aquatic invasive species. The decisions that people make are shaped by what people think and feel, the rules and regulations introduced by management agencies, and environmental conditions that are experienced across a regional scale. However, fisheries research rarely integrates these perspectives. Our study is developing and testing a framework that characterizes the complexities of angler behaviors that influence biological invasions to guide fishery management decisions. We are answering these research questions:

  • What are the primary psychological drivers of angler behaviors relevant to the spread of aquatic invasive species?
  • What preferences do anglers have for management of aquatic invasive species and what tradeoffs are they willing to make?
  • How do anglers’ behaviors and management preferences vary by subgroups oriented towards different fishing activities?

Over a three-year period (2018-2020), we are conducting research to understand the reasons why people are engaging in behavior and making decisions about invasive species. A mixed-mode survey of U.S. license-holding anglers surrounding Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario in the U.S. and Canada is being administered to provide insight on how best to minimize the unintentional spread of aquatic invasive species. We are working closely with stakeholder groups to represent their interests, and collaborate with resource management agencies to enhance communication in a way that motivates people to act more consistently on their belief systems. It is our hope that the outcomes of this research will benefit freshwater ecosystems and human communities working to sustain natural resources in the Great Lakes Basin.

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



This research is supported by: