Birdsong et al. (2022): Does the relevance of catch for angler satisfaction vary with social-ecological context? A study involving angler cultures from West and East Germany

Max Birdsong, Len M. Hunt, Ben Beardmore, Malte Dorow, Thilo Pagel, Robert Arlinghaus


Angler satisfaction is a key consideration in the management of recreational fisheries. Anglers typically prefer high catch rates and large fish, but the importance of these catch outcomes for satisfaction may differ across angler types, target species, and other contextual conditions. We examined the relationships between catch outcomes and satisfaction using trip-level (n = 19,558) catch and harvest information from two fisheries with contrasting governance and cultural contexts within the same nation, a small club context of north-western Germany (Lower Saxony) and a regional context with largely open access in north-eastern Germany (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania). Both fisheries are from the same eco-region and offer multi-species fisheries of a similar species mix (predominantly freshwater). Catch rate and size of fish were found to positively affect catch satisfaction in both social-ecological contexts. The catch rate-satisfaction relationship showed diminishing marginal returns (i.e., more catch is better, but the marginal benefits diminish as catch increases), and the maximum fish size-satisfaction relationship was positively exponential (i.e., larger maximum fish sizes make anglers increasingly more satisfied). Social-ecological context, trip context (e.g., season and previous catch outcomes) and angler specialization were all significant moderators of the importance of catch outcomes towards satisfaction with catch. Importantly, after controlling for catch outcomes and other contextual factors, anglers in the small-scale club context from north-western Germany (Lower Saxony) were, on average, more satisfied with their catch than anglers in a large-scale regional context from north-eastern Germany (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania). These findings suggest that managers cannot expect anglers to be similarly satisfied at identical catch outcomes in different social-ecological contexts, even within the same nation. Managers may well be advised to manage for specific qualities of catch (e.g., regularity of catch and larger maximum size of fish) rather than attempting to manage for high catch rates alone as the latter might not contribute to more satisfied anglers after catch rate thresholds have been passed.

Nora Meyer et al. (2021): A day on the shore: Ecological impacts of non-motorised recreational activities in and around inland water bodies.

Nora Meyer; Malwina Schafft; Benjamin Wegner; Christian Wolter; Robert Arlinghaus; Markus Venohr; Goddert von Oheimb


With the increasing importance of recreational activities in and around inland water bodies, there is a need for sound knowledge about their ecological impacts. This narrative review summarizes and analyses the ecological effects of the land-based activities walking, biking, nature observing and relaxing on the shoreline as well as the water-based activities swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, and canyoning. Searching multiple databases with standardized search terms retrieved twenty-six publications for further analyses. While walking was the most studied activity, birds were the most studied organism group, with a focus on individual time budgets and avoidance behaviour. Population-level analyses were exceedingly rare. The most frequently studied activity-effect combinations were walking and birds, walking and terrestrial plants and scuba diving/snorkelling and fishes. Aquatic plants, amphibians, reptiles, water chemical parameters and terrestrial and aquatic algae were underrepresented in the existing literature. No study on mammals was identified. Disturbance often led to temporary behavioural changes of birds and wildlife. Plants were more strongly impacted than animals, suffering from recreation-induced damage and dieback, which led to changes in community composition. The difference in intensity of impact between mobile and sessile organisms calls for different management strategies, depending on local conservation targets. Future studies should focus on underrepresented taxonomic groups and study population or community-level impacts, to collectively provide the sound scientific basis for the sustainable recreational use of inland water bodies, while minimizing or avoiding severe ecological impacts.

Schafft et al. (2021): Ecological impacts of water-based recreational activities on freshwater ecosystems: a global meta-analysis. The Royal Society. Collection.

Malwina Schafft, Bejamin Wegner, Nora Meyer, Christian Wolter and Robert Arlinghaus


Human presence at water bodies can have a range of ecological impacts, creating trade-offs between recreation as an ecosystem service and conservation. Conservation policies could be improved by relying on robust knowledge about the relative ecological impacts of water-based recreation. We present the first global synthesis on recreation ecology in aquatic ecosystems, differentiating the ecological impacts of shore use, (shoreline) angling, swimming and boating. Impacts were assessed at three levels of biological organization (individuals, populations and communities) for several taxa. We screened over 13 000 articles and identified 94 suitable studies that met the inclusion criteria, providing 701 effect sizes. Impacts of boating and shore use resulted in consistently negative, significant ecological impacts across all levels of biological organization. The results were less consistent for angling and swimming. The strongest negative effects were observed in invertebrates and plants. Recreational impacts on birds were most pronounced at the individual level, but not significant at the community level. Due to publication bias and knowledge gaps generalizations of the ecological impacts of aquatic recreation are challenging. Impacts depend less on the form of recreation. Thus, selectively constraining specific types of recreation may have little conservation value, as long as other forms of water-based recreation continue.