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Lake Conservation Webinar Series: Fishing for Food: Quantifying Recreational Fisheries Harvest in Wisconsin Lakes
Recreational fisheries have high economic worth, valued at US$190 billion globally. An important, but underappreciated, secondary value of recreational catch is its role as a source of food. This contribution is poorly understood due to difficulty in estimating recreational harvest at spatial scales beyond a single system, as traditionally estimated from individual creel surveys. Here, we address this gap using 28-year creel surveys of ~300 Wisconsin inland lakes. We develop a statistical model of recreational harvest for individual lakes and then scale-up to unsurveyed lakes (3,769 lakes; 73% of statewide lake surface area). We generate a state-wide estimate of recreational lake harvest of ~4,200 metric tons and an estimated annual angler consumption rate of ~1.1 kg, nearly equal to the total estimated United States per capita freshwater fish consumption. An important ecosystem service, recreational harvest makes significant contributions to human diets and plays an often-unheralded role in food security.

Oct 5, 2021 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Holly Embke
PhD Candidate & USGS Pathways Research Fish Biologist @University of Wisconsin Madison & USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center
Holly grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at McGill University. A summer internship at NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center led her to complete a Master’s in aquatic ecology at the University of Toledo. Now at UW-Madison’s Center for Limnology, Holly is pursuing a Ph.D. in Jake Vander Zanden’s lab while also working as a Pathways Research Fish Biologist for the USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center. Holly’s research seeks to understand the conditions necessary to support self-sustaining inland fish communities in a changing climate.