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, particularly aquatic invasive species. We are primarily housed in the van Riper Research Group but collaborate with researchers in the Center for Conservation Social Sciences, the Fish Lab and the Sport Fish Ecology Lab.  Our efforts began in 2016 with qualitative research involving anglers and boaters in the state of Illinois with support from the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center. We then received support from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to conduct a regional, mixed-mode survey of U.S. license-holding anglers surrounding Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario in the U.S. and Canada to provide insight on how best to minimize the unintentional spread of aquatic invasive species. We have also worked with collaborators in the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the IL Department of Natural Resources to understand angler and boater responses to message framing and the role of organisms-in-trade hobbyists in spreading aquatic invasive species. 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 IL. All of our work involves close collaboration with biologists, resource management agencies, and stakeholder 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 freshwater ecosystems and human communities committed to sustaining freshwater ecosystems in the Midwestern US.

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


This research is supported by: