Comparison of Volunteer Angler-supplied Fisheries Catch and Population Structure Data with Traditional Data

A volunteer angler diary program was evaluated as a data source compared to traditional fisheries census techniques (i.e., electrofishing, gill netting, and on site creel surveys). Anglers were supplied fishing diaries and asked to record lengths of fishes caught, location, and time fished in Texas public waters, 1986-1988. Volunteer angler-supplied (ANG) length and catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) data were then compared to traditional fisheries census data for the same season and water body. Although ANG data were reported for 4,581 trips, 144 reservoirs, and 10 species or species groups, sufficient data for analysis was obtained only for largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). Regression analysis of ANG and traditional data indicated significant but variable relations existed for PSD (r2 = 0.28; P = 0.0159), RSD (r2 = 0.56; P = 0.0002), and CPUE (r2 = 0.42; P = 0.0050). Cost of ANG data on a per fish basis was about one-third that of traditional methods. Anglers were supportive of the program. ANG data could be useful to a fisheries management agency as supplemental data, or as a warning system so agency data can be collected to determine action when ANG data indicate problems.

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