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Breathing life into fisheries stock assessments with citizen science

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Citizen science offers a potentially cost-effective way for researchers to obtain large data sets over large spatial scales. However, it is not used widely to support biological data collection for fisheries stock assessments. Overfishing of demersal fishes along 1,000 km of the west Australian coast led to restrictive management to recover stocks. This diminished opportunities for scientists to cost-effectively monitor stock recovery via fishery-dependent sampling, particularly of the recreational fishing sector. As fishery-independent methods would be too expensive and logistically-challenging to implement, a citizen science program, Send us your skeletons (SUYS), was developed. SUYS asks recreational fishers to voluntarily donate fish skeletons of important species from their catch to allow biological data extraction by scientists to produce age structures and conduct stock assessment analyses. During SUYS, recreational fisher involvement, sample sizes and spatial and temporal coverage of samples have dramatically increased, while the collection cost per skeleton has declined substantially. SUYS is ensuring sampling objectives for stock assessments are achieved via fishery-dependent collection and reliable and timely scientific advice can be provided to managers. The program is also encouraging public ownership through involvement in the monitoring process, which can lead to greater acceptance of management decisions.

No MeSH data available.


Change over time in the total number of skeleton samples obtained and the cost of collection.(a) Number of fish skeletons obtained from the recreational sector between 2002/03 and 2012/13 (▪) and the cost of collection (as a multiple of the 2004/05 collection cost; □). (b) The percentage change in cost per skeleton relative to 2004/05 to run the program according to each year's sampling regime.
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f5: Change over time in the total number of skeleton samples obtained and the cost of collection.(a) Number of fish skeletons obtained from the recreational sector between 2002/03 and 2012/13 (▪) and the cost of collection (as a multiple of the 2004/05 collection cost; □). (b) The percentage change in cost per skeleton relative to 2004/05 to run the program according to each year's sampling regime.

Mentions: Between 2002/03 and 2006/07, a limited number of staff were employed (one research scientist and one or two technical officers) to conduct sampling and there was little promotion of the need for fish skeletons (Supplementary Table S1). The Department increased the number of staff dedicated to this program and its promotion of the need for skeleton donations in 2007/08 to increase sampling success. In 2007/08, the active sampling regime and resources required (e.g. staff, field, lab, equipment and promotion costs) would have incurred ca 1.5 times the cost of the 2004/05 sampling regime (at 2013/14 prices), due mainly to more staff being employed to achieve sampling targets (Fig. 5a). However, in 2007/08, more than double the number of skeletons were obtained than in 2004/05, which would have equated to a reduction in the cost per skeleton of about 39% (Fig. 5a, b). The greatest total expenditure occurred in 2010/11 and 2011/12, i.e. ca 1.6 times 2004/05 costs, after SUYS commenced, which was due mainly to a large increase in promotional costs. But this was reduced to 1.5 times 2004/05 costs by 2012/13, as a result of reductions in those initial promotional costs. However, the much larger number of skeletons collected in the three years after SUYS commenced (3.2–4.5 times the number collected in 2004/05) would have resulted in the total cost/skeleton decreasing by 52–62% of estimated costs in 2004/05 (at 2013/14 prices) (Fig. 5a, b).


Breathing life into fisheries stock assessments with citizen science
Change over time in the total number of skeleton samples obtained and the cost of collection.(a) Number of fish skeletons obtained from the recreational sector between 2002/03 and 2012/13 (▪) and the cost of collection (as a multiple of the 2004/05 collection cost; □). (b) The percentage change in cost per skeleton relative to 2004/05 to run the program according to each year's sampling regime.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5384193&req=5

f5: Change over time in the total number of skeleton samples obtained and the cost of collection.(a) Number of fish skeletons obtained from the recreational sector between 2002/03 and 2012/13 (▪) and the cost of collection (as a multiple of the 2004/05 collection cost; □). (b) The percentage change in cost per skeleton relative to 2004/05 to run the program according to each year's sampling regime.
Mentions: Between 2002/03 and 2006/07, a limited number of staff were employed (one research scientist and one or two technical officers) to conduct sampling and there was little promotion of the need for fish skeletons (Supplementary Table S1). The Department increased the number of staff dedicated to this program and its promotion of the need for skeleton donations in 2007/08 to increase sampling success. In 2007/08, the active sampling regime and resources required (e.g. staff, field, lab, equipment and promotion costs) would have incurred ca 1.5 times the cost of the 2004/05 sampling regime (at 2013/14 prices), due mainly to more staff being employed to achieve sampling targets (Fig. 5a). However, in 2007/08, more than double the number of skeletons were obtained than in 2004/05, which would have equated to a reduction in the cost per skeleton of about 39% (Fig. 5a, b). The greatest total expenditure occurred in 2010/11 and 2011/12, i.e. ca 1.6 times 2004/05 costs, after SUYS commenced, which was due mainly to a large increase in promotional costs. But this was reduced to 1.5 times 2004/05 costs by 2012/13, as a result of reductions in those initial promotional costs. However, the much larger number of skeletons collected in the three years after SUYS commenced (3.2–4.5 times the number collected in 2004/05) would have resulted in the total cost/skeleton decreasing by 52–62% of estimated costs in 2004/05 (at 2013/14 prices) (Fig. 5a, b).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Citizen science offers a potentially cost-effective way for researchers to obtain large data sets over large spatial scales. However, it is not used widely to support biological data collection for fisheries stock assessments. Overfishing of demersal fishes along 1,000 km of the west Australian coast led to restrictive management to recover stocks. This diminished opportunities for scientists to cost-effectively monitor stock recovery via fishery-dependent sampling, particularly of the recreational fishing sector. As fishery-independent methods would be too expensive and logistically-challenging to implement, a citizen science program, Send us your skeletons (SUYS), was developed. SUYS asks recreational fishers to voluntarily donate fish skeletons of important species from their catch to allow biological data extraction by scientists to produce age structures and conduct stock assessment analyses. During SUYS, recreational fisher involvement, sample sizes and spatial and temporal coverage of samples have dramatically increased, while the collection cost per skeleton has declined substantially. SUYS is ensuring sampling objectives for stock assessments are achieved via fishery-dependent collection and reliable and timely scientific advice can be provided to managers. The program is also encouraging public ownership through involvement in the monitoring process, which can lead to greater acceptance of management decisions.

No MeSH data available.