Angler behaviors and motivations for exploiting invasive and native predatory fishes by catch-and-release: a case study on the River Severn catchment, Western England.
Catch-and-release sport angling for large-bodied fishes is a popular recreational pastime, but is also a major introduction source of invasive fishes that can impact native biodiversity. Introductions of large non-native fishes are often part of fisheries management practices to diversify angler opportunities and increase satisfaction. Interviews with sport anglers (n=12) targeting native pike (Esox lucius) and invasive pikeperch (Sander lucioperca) in the River Severn, Western England, were conducted to determine angler motivations, behaviors, and perceptions. Although motivations were catch orientated, they also related to catching wild fish in natural surroundings. Conservation values were reflected in the behavioral safeguarding of pikeperch populations, including catch-and-release practices that are contrary to current fisheries policy. Anglers perceived pikeperch as enhancing the fishery without causing long-term ecological impacts and were opposed to current management practices and policy. These results suggest considerable disjuncture between angler motivations and behaviors, and non-native fish policy and management.