The Angler in the Environment: Social, Economic, Biological, and Ethical Dimensions

FishSmart: Harnessing the Knowledge of Stakeholders to Enhance U.S. Marine Recreational Fisheries with Application to the Atlantic King Mackerel Fishery

Thomas F. Ihde, Michael J. Wilberg, David H. Secor, and Thomas J. Miller


Abstract .—Despite widespread recognition of the importance of including stakeholders in management decisions for fisheries, an integrated process for broadening stakeholder involvement in the management of marine fisheries in the United States is lacking. Many marine recreational fishery stakeholders feel frustrated by a perceived lack of inclusion in the management process. Here, we describe a collaborative, integrated process between scientists and stakeholders, called “FishSmart,” which complements current management by informing fishery managers of stakeholder preferences for alternative management strategies. Strategies were designed by the stakeholders to improve the status of the king mackerel Scomberomorus cavalla fishery off the southeastern coast of the United States, relative to their shared vision of an improved fishery. Over the course of four facilitated workshops, stakeholders explored and compared the consequences of voluntary and regulatory fishery management strategies, using a decision analysis model developed by project scientists. Goals identified by stakeholders included maintaining high and stable catches and retaining year-round access and the ability to catch large fish. Options modeled included both voluntary changes in fishing practices and mandatory regulations. Stakeholders agreed that status quo management options were not sufficient to ensure sustainability in the Atlantic king mackerel fishery and developed a suite of 18 consensus recommendations of how to best meet their shared vision of a quality fishery.