Chapter 21: Measuring the Human Dimensions of Recreational Fisheries
Barbara A. Knuth, Tommy L. Brown, and Kevin M. Hunt
Fisheries management has been defined as “the manipulation of aquatic organisms, aquatic environments, and their human users to produce sustained and ever-increasing benefits for people” (Nielsen 1993). Human dimensions inquiry is essential to this process. It enables managers to understand what fisheries-related benefits people desire and thus provides direction and insight for setting fisheries management objectives. It provides insights about how people perceive or may respond to potential fisheries management strategies, thereby helping managers understand whether proposed management approaches that target angler behaviors may have the intended effect. It helps managers understand how people interact with a fisheries resource, how they value fisheries, and how they are affected by fisheries management and resource allocation decisions that are based on sociological, economic, legal, and political data. These factors are the human dimensions of fisheries management.
Human dimensions research is the term commonly used to describe the body of theory and techniques that provide information about the human element of fisheries management, the fisheries stakeholders (Brown 1987). Stakeholders are individuals or groups who may be affected by, or may influence, fisheries management decisions and actions. To make informed decisions, managers require a variety of human dimensions data about various stakeholders that go beyond catch and effort data (Chapter 19). Recreational fisheries stakeholders may include active anglers, former or future anglers, and nonanglers with a social, cultural, spiritual, recreational, or economic link to fisheries resources.