Mixed-mode surveys reveal shared regulatory preferences in an overfished recreational fishery

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Population declines of spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus have reached levels that warrant management action in Louisiana, USA waters. As regulatory adjustments are necessary to recover the stock, we evaluated the viability of recovery options while gathering preference data from respondents through three survey modes. The modes applied were: (1) a series of public scoping meetings, (2) a probability-based sample of fishing license-holders, and (3) an open-access online survey. Among survey modes, significant differences were seen in avidity, typical harvest, and perceptions of the fishery, indicating that we captured responses from three distinct user groups. Despite these differences, several common themes emerged among all three survey types. Respondents in all survey types indicated strong levels of support for regulations decreasing allowable harvest relative to regulations at the time of survey execution. Specifically, our study presents a viable recovery scenario while accounting for the preferences of multiple user groups.

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Human Dimensions of Wildlife

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