New research led by University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) scientists found that educating recreational anglers can help protect sharks.
“The recreational fishing community has a long history of supporting marine conservation efforts, so there is great value in trying to understand which factors affect their behavior and decision making, especially for threatened species such as sharks,” lead author and UM adjunct assistant professor Austin Gallagher said in a news release.
In order to better understand the recreational anglers’ attitude towards sharks, researchers interviewed 158 individuals. They found the many recognize that sharks can suffer from post-release mortality, although the researchers call it “an under-appreciated consequence.” And, while they recognize that recreational fishing poses a threat to species that are already labeled ‘threatened’, they generally believe that climate change poses a much larger threat.
“Anglers generally care about shark conservation, but are unaware of some potential threats from recreational fishing and how they can best modify their angling techniques to improve survivorship of released sharks,” said co-author and UM research assistant professor Neil Hammerschlag.
Overall, the research suggests that more education and outreach on the impacts of catch-and-release shark fishing would contribute to increased survival rates and conservation of sharks.
“This is a good starting point for new conversations on sustainability within the fishing community,” Gallagher said.
To learn more:
- Read the UM news release: New Study Suggests Angler Education Can Benefit Sharks
- Read the full study: Risk perceptions and conservation ethics among recreational anglers targeting threatened sharks in the subtropical Atlantic
Copyright © 2015 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.