Dispelling Common Beliefs about Angler Opposition to Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) Rehabilitation Efforts in Lake Huron

Monday, August 18, 2014
Exhibit Hall 400AB (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Len Hunt , Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
David Gonder , Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Owen Sound, ON, Canada
Arunas Liskauskas , Management Biologist, Upper Great Lakes Management Unit, Lake Huron Office, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Owen Sound, ON, Canada
Rehabilitating native fish species remains a challenge for fisheries managers partly because of presumed opposition to rehabilitation programs. We examined the extent and variability in support and opposition for lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) management and proposed rehabilitation activities for the Ontario waters of Lake Huron amongst principally anglers. Specifically, we compared four common beliefs (hypotheses) that should affect angler opposition to lake trout rehabilitation. Through a questionnaire sent to a random sample of local licensed anglers, we found very high support for lake trout rehabilitation. As hypothesized, this support was lower among a sample of individuals who actively sought opportunities to complete the questionnaire (i.e., the convenience sample). From the sample of local licensed anglers, we found little support for the remaining three hypotheses. Very few differences in support for lake trout rehabilitation existed between respondents who did or did not fish Lake Huron, who were or were not participants in past public involvement opportunities for managing Lake Huron’s fisheries, and who were and were not knowledgeable about the proposed rehabilitation plan. These results question common beliefs that anglers are unsupportive of lake trout rehabilitation in Lake Huron.