Stakeholder Views of Management and Decision Support Tools to Integrate Climate Change into Great Lakes Lake Whitefish Management

whitefish

By Abigail J. Lynch, William W. Taylor, and Aaron M. McCright

Decision support tools can aid decision making by systematically incorporating information, accounting for uncertainties, and facilitating evaluation between alternatives. Without user buy-in, however, decision support tools can fail to influence decision making processes. We surveyed fishery researchers, managers, and fishers affiliated with the Lake Whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis fishery in the 1836 Treaty Waters of Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior to assess opinions of current and future management needs to identify barriers to, and opportunities for, developing a decision support tool based on Lake Whitefish recruitment projections with climate change. Approximately 64% of 39 respondents were satisfied with current management, and nearly 85% agreed that science was well integrated into management programs. Though decision support tools can facilitate science integration into management, respondents suggest that they face significant implementation barriers, including lack of political will to change management and perceived uncertainty in decision support outputs. Recommendations from this survey can inform development of decision support tools for fishery management in the Great Lakes and other regions.

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