Click for next page ( 118


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 117
7 Communication and Outreach Ultimately, the value of marine recreational fishing data, whether collected by the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS) or any other survey, will be judged by the extent to which it meets the needs of the individuals who use the data and will be trusted by those whose lives are affected by the ways the data are used. This latter group of stakeholders is a varied group including saltwater anglers, other user groups who benefit from use of recreational fishery resources, and commercial fishermen whose benefits from the fishery resource may be influenced by allocations made as a result of available data. Stakeholders rarely understand why fisheries data are collected in certain ways and how the data are analyzed and applied to management decisions. Communication and outreach efforts are essential to foster confidence in the quality of the data among managers, other decision makers, and those who rely on the fishery resources for recreation or for a living. A primary challenge to be addressed in communication and outreach efforts is the disparity in how data are perceived by various stakeholder groups, including data collectors, data analysts, and the recreational and commercial fishing communities. As described in Chapter 1, the MRFSS was originally designed to characterize the nature of and trends associated with recreational fisheries, particularly in terms of catch, effort, and participation at national and sometimes regional scales. Among the recreational fishing community, there is a widespread lack of support and appreciation for the current MRFSS administered by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). This lack of support is related, in part, to the evolution of the use of the MRFSS data. Since its inception, the MRFSS data have been applied to other purposes, most notably stock assessment and management decisions for particular species, which were not the original intent of the MRFSS. During that 117

OCR for page 117
118 REVIEW OF RECREATIONAL FISHERIES SURVEY METHODS time, the types and numbers of marine recreational fishery stakeholder groups have grown, as has the recognition of the importance of knowing accurately the size of the recreational harvest as a portion of total harvest in many marine fisheries. These trends have contributed to an increased interest in recreational fisheries statistics, not only among anglers but among other stakeholders as well. All of them care about fisheries management decisions, including allocation decisions. Political demands placed on managers to make "good" decisions based on the MRFSS and other data sources, and the scrutiny applied to fisheries statistics and their associated methods, also have increased. In addition, it is difficult for an individual angler to distinguish population trends (e.g., depletion) from fluctuations caused by weather, local fish migration, and other factors that affect catch rate. It also is difficult for an individual angler to understand the cumulative effects of many anglers on the same species. With all of these competing demands, communication and outreach become even more critical to ensure a shared understanding of the purposes, capacity, and limitations of the data-gathering approach, and consequently, the quality of or limitations on uses of the data. These concerns are relevant for any type of fisheries statistics, whether it is for the MRFSS, some existing MRFSS-like state or regional survey, or even commercial fishery statistics. A previous National Research Council study notes the following: It is important for scientists and managers to improve their communication of the data available and to make such data available to stakeholders more readily and in a user-friendly form. When this is not achieved, a lack of trust develops between those who control access to the data and those who cannot gain access. In many cases, disagreement of fishermen with the results of stock assessments can be traced to [NMFS] not explaining the sources of variability in the data and the uncertainty of the models being used. (National Research Council, 2000) What should this communication and outreach involve? Funda- mentally, communication programs must identify and respond to the information needs of each of the stakeholder groups involved in the marine fishery management milieu. This requires identifying the appro- priate stakeholder groups who have particular information needs or infor- mation to share, and articulating the information and knowledge each

OCR for page 117
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH 119 should have or wants to have (communication and outreach goals). It also requires identifying the most appropriate means for exchanging information among the various stakeholder groups, including the recreational fishing community, data collectors, and data analysts and users, taking into account that the understanding of probability and statistics in the general population is not high. For any communication program, it will be important to remember that communication should be an exchange of perspectives and information, not just a one-way presentation of information. COMMUNICATION GOALS AND STAKEHOLDERS The importance of clear and ongoing communications between scientists, managers, and fishermen (both anglers and commercial fisher- men) has been articulated most clearly in relation to the commercial fishing sector. Jentoft et al. (1998) argues for actively engaging fisher- men in fishery management processes to improve management decisions by including experiential knowledge of those involved in the fishery, improving communication among all parties involved, and increasing the consideration given to socioeconomic aspects of the fishery in decision- making processes. Johnston (1992) articulates a range of benefits accrued through partnerships among commercial fishermen, scientists, and man- agers, including a greater commitment by the fishermen to achieving management successes when they have an active role in designing management strategies, reducing data-gathering costs because fishermen become more cooperative in the data-gathering efforts, and enhancing the credibility of the management process and decisions based on data collected. All of these benefits can lead to greater acceptance of fishing regulations. Commercial fisheries management has pushed the concept of collaboration further than open, two-way dialogue by experimenting with comanagement schemes that legitimize management decision-making authority for fishermen (e.g., Yandle, 2003). True comanagement has received limited attention for recreational fisheries management (Wilson et al., 2003), but many of the concepts underlying comanagement approaches suggest lessons for at least improving the relationships between fisheries managers, fisheries scientists, and anglers. Attention to communication and outreach may improve relationships among data collectors and analysts, managers, and decision makers who use the data

OCR for page 117
120 REVIEW OF RECREATIONAL FISHERIES SURVEY METHODS and the private and for-hire sector fishery participants whose lives or livelihoods are affected by the data and their use. This committee heard from numerous groups and individuals ex- pressing a lack of confidence in the estimates produced by the MRFSS. This credibility gap arises from several sources, including a belief that alternate data sources are more credible; criticism of the temporal, spatial, group, or taxonomic stratification of the intercept sampling; lack of understanding of statistical methodology; and recognition that the sampling frame used for effort estimation suffers from undercoverage. Communication and outreach goals associated with a marine recreational fisheries statistics program might focus on topics related to data collection efforts and to data interpretation and use. DATA COLLECTION EFFORTS An overarching goal associated with the data collection process may be to encourage anglers and their representatives to form more positive attitudes toward NMFS so that they will adopt their catch and effort surveys and the results they provide, support management decisions based on these results, and put more trust in the agency. More specific goals may include: Enabling anglers to better understand the reasons for using probability samples rather than censuses and the implications for such a sampling method in terms of on-the-ground contacts between anglers and data collectors. The most common criticism made by active anglers and the people that represent them regarding the MRFSS is they have not been intercepted by survey personnel working in support of NMFS. An onsite avidity bias toward those who fish most frequently would suggest they have a greater chance of being intercepted than more casual anglers. Also, more avid anglers are likely to be more skilled than casual anglers, which implies that their catch rates are higher than those of casual anglers. Most anglers are not likely to understand the intricacies and efficiencies of random sampling designs and would question their use compared to a census. Outreach activities should emphasize the process of data collection, as well as results.

OCR for page 117
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH 121 Ensuring that anglers understand the basics of sampling and the importance of a frame from which to draw a sample. Such knowledge may help build support for implementation of a national registry or saltwater fishing license in their state (if they do not already have one). Anglers should have a clear under- standing of the link between having a saltwater fishing license, and thus a sampling frame, and improving the quality of recreational fisheries data and stock estimates based on those data. Improving the quality (validity) of the data collected by im- proving the confidence anglers have in data-collection efforts. If anglers are more invested in the survey process, they likely will be more motivated to participate and report accurately and be less likely to complain about a method they helped implement. Improving the design of data collection efforts by providing a mechanism for structured feedback from users regarding design characteristics. Although several external reviews of the MRFSS or portions of it have been conducted (Guthrie et al., 1991; Pollock et al., 1994), an internal process of user feedback on evaluation and modification of the design, currently, is not available within the program. Some users of the MRFSS data have initiated dialogue with the MRFSS project managers to address design issues, but there is a need for a more formal and institutionalized feedback process. This committee judges that the lack of such a process may be because there has been no formal re-evaluation of the MRFSS mandate and objectives in relation to current data needs and usage. The rapid evolution of uses and needs for data from recreational fisheries underscores the requirement for such a re-evaluation by the MRFSS man- agers and communication about that re-evaluation with data collectors, data analysts, and the recreational fishing community. Establishing a common knowledge base among anglers, data collectors, and data users. Data collectors, for example, need to understand common names for fish and generally be aware of angler behaviors, gear types used, and species caught. Different modes of fishing (e.g., shore-based, boat) occur at different times and places and often are subject to different regulations. Also, data collectors need to use categories that will meet the requirements of analysts. Concerns have been voiced about the ability and training of those conducting the surveys in support of

OCR for page 117
122 REVIEW OF RECREATIONAL FISHERIES SURVEY METHODS NMFS. If anglers are not confident that surveyors have the requisite fish identification skills, then resultant data and efforts to use those data in support of management are not likely to be accepted. If data collectors "speak the same language" as the anglers, confidence in the abilities of the data collectors will be enhanced, and the data collectors should produce higher-quality (more accurate) data. This is particularly important for taxo- nomic stratification of data. Analysts must be able to employ data with confidence that species designations are accurate and consistently applied in the sampling process. Biological data obtained from the intercept samples must be consistent with the categories used in assessments. This committee heard testimony that suggested that there are inconsistencies in taxonomic segregation of data among different fishing modes. Here again, improved outreach efforts between analysts and data collectors are required, and this includes outreach with the recreational fishery participants as well. DATA INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION EFFORTS Problems associated with marine recreational fisheries statistics are not limited to data collection efforts. As detailed in previous chapters, the MRFSS has been applied to answer questions it was not designed to address. In some instances, misunderstandings have developed because the current use of recreational fisheries data originating with the MRFSS was not anticipated in the design of that program. Current users require data that are more highly resolved--spatially, temporally, and taxonomically--than is currently collected. Mechanisms to modify, amend, or enhance the data collection processes could be identified through better communication and outreach between data analysts, users, and collectors. In addition to dialogue on design issues, the MRFSS managers also need to advise data users on constraints to some uses, as well as fundamental features of the data collection system. The MRFSS website is information rich and provides general background for the average angler. In addition, the MRFSS personnel conduct regular meetings with users to review results of sampling waves. However, our review identified a number of areas where users extracted sections of data histories but were unaware of the data characteristics, the methods of compilation, or the fundamental nature of sampling versus census esti-

OCR for page 117
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH 123 mation. These observations indicate that while the program has under- taken some outreach activities with users, misconceptions and lack of clarity on data characteristics continue to exist. Further, the users' lack of knowledge of and involvement in the design basis of the survey clearly has created some lack of trust in the underlying data presentations. Considerably greater outreach effort appears necessary, although this distrust may not be overcome completely. Communication and outreach goals focusing on improving data interpretation and application may include the following: Ensuring that stock assessment scientists, fisheries managers, and other decision makers are aware of the limitations and inherent biases of marine recreational fisheries statistics related to survey design and approach. Issues that assessment scientists and decision makers should be aware of include the lack of continuity in intercept samplers, differences in sampling methods applied to different modes of fishing (e.g., independent anglers, guided anglers, shore-based anglers), lack of incorporation of design elements in the estimation process (e.g., weighting of spatial or temporal sampling strata), differences in frequency and distribution of fishing trips due to local topography and climate (e.g., rocky shorelines with rough seas in the Pacific Northwest lead to fewer access points than sandy shores and calmer waters in the southeastern United States), and the lack of consistency or accuracy in species designation among fishing or sampling modes. Scientists using marine recreational fisheries data may assume that their statistical properties are known and estimable when in fact they may not be. Resolution of this difficulty can occur only through a detailed outreach process between data collectors and data analysts. Facilitating the evolution of the survey system. While one might consider limiting the use of data to the purposes for which they were designed initially, data needs are likely to continue to expand. Communication channels and outreach can be used to identify the growing needs of fishery analysts and other data user groups in the hope that the system can continue to evolve to meet new needs and expectations without circumventing present demands.

OCR for page 117
124 REVIEW OF RECREATIONAL FISHERIES SURVEY METHODS COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH APPROACHES As one recreational fishing participant commented to this committee regarding the value of a pair of meetings the MRFSS data collectors con- ducted with recreational fishing participants: "At the first meeting, the MRFSS staff talked at us; at the second meeting, they talked with us." This statement speaks volumes--the key to successful communication and outreach is to talk "with" each other, not "at" each other. There is no question that personal relationships matter, as does creating an atmo- sphere for honest dialogue and exchange of ideas, rather than one-way information flow. Communication and outreach to achieve many of the goals noted above can fall under the broad rubric of "public participation" approaches--focusing on how citizens (e.g., anglers, head boat and charter boat operators) can participate more actively and in a more informed manner in management and decision-making processes related to marine recreational fisheries, including data-gathering and data-use efforts. Many public participation concepts developed for other natural resource contexts are appropriate for marine recreational fisheries. Institutionalize the Importance of Outreach and Communication Involvement with and leadership for outreach and communication should become an expectation for key individuals at all levels of the marine recreational fishing statistics effort. This includes data collectors within NMFS, as well as data analysts, stock assessors, and decision makers. Individuals' performance plans for their jobs should require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) managers, technicians, and scientists to get out of their offices and interact with anglers and the nongovernmental organizations that represent them; adequate funding should be provided to support such activities. Work hour rules may need to be revised--anglers typically have regular jobs as well and may only be available during evening or weekend hours. Thus, flexible schedules are needed for the NOAA staff who are asked to interact regularly with those in the recreational fishing community. Good relationships between anglers and data gatherers mean that data gatherers must be well-trained, informed, and able to relate to anglers; additional training beyond the biological basis for their jobs will be required. Strategic plans prepared by NMFS should include specific activity

OCR for page 117
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH 125 targets and outcomes focused on outreach and communication with a variety of audiences and stakeholder groups. Conduct Regular Regional Workshops Increasing displeasure among stakeholder representatives over the use of the MRFSS or Large Pelagic Survey data to enforce recreational quotas led to a 2002 workshop, which was convened in San Diego by NMFS and the three fishery management commissions. The workshop involved stakeholder representatives, academics, and various agency personnel and sought to indicate the data types and data collection system appropriate for quota management. Such workshops, when conducted on a regular basis, provide a forum for stakeholders and agency personnel to interact, build relationships, and directly address questions of concern. Given the time and planning that such workshops will require in order to develop relationships and explore topics in depth, it may not be possible to add these as one agenda item among many in regional council or commission meetings; stand-alone meetings may be required. Engage Anglers in Partnership with Scientists Engaging anglers in partnership with scientists to collect data to inform stock assessment or other recreational fisheries management processes may help foster positive relationships between anglers and scientists and may provide forums for ongoing communication, not necessarily solely about recreational fishing statistics. Wilson (1999) suggests four types of approaches for anglerscientist interactions, based on a review of North American cases. Two of these are particularly pertinent to recreational fisheries statistics. The first of these types of fishermanscientist partnerships is the "deference model" in which anglers collect data for use by scientists, but the analysis and interpretation is left to the scientists. Examples of these types include angler catch and participation diaries (e.g., Connelly and Brown, 1995) and various tagging studies (e.g., Kohler et al., 1998). Volunteer angler logbooks (e.g., for striped bass; see Appendix C) also help foster this connection between anglers and scientists and provide a useful database that can be used for estimation of certain fishery statistics, such as discards. In the commercial sector, this approach has also included at-sea

OCR for page 117
126 REVIEW OF RECREATIONAL FISHERIES SURVEY METHODS collaborations in which scientists are aboard commercial fishing vessels from which they collect data. The second type of collaboration suggested by Wilson (1999) is that of traditional ecological knowledge, a concept from the study of the value of indigenous knowledge in informing natural resource man- agement decisions. The focus here is to acknowledge that local anglers possess a type of knowledge that is different from science-based knowledge, but that knowledge is valid and useful, based on long-term observation and experience (Neis et al., 1996; Pederson and Hall-Arber, 1999). Traditional ecological knowledge has been used in recreational as well as commercial fishery systems (Sutton, 1999). Wilson (1999) notes that perhaps the most established cooperative research group is the Fishermen and Scientist Research Society in Nova Scotia, which was initiated in 1993. Building trust between fishermen and scientists was noted as both a crucial challenge to overcome and an important accomplishment achieved through the partnership (King, 1999). Although the Fishermen and Scientist Research Society focuses on commercial fishermen, the experience provides lessons for the recreational fishing and scientific communities. Establish Stakeholder Advisory Groups Ongoing citizen and angler advisory groups provide a forum to enable managers and scientists to learn about non-scientist, non-manager concerns and perspectives regarding resource management data and decisions, and also provide a learning opportunity for anglers and other stakeholders to become more informed about fishery management issues. For example, Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife Sportfishing Advisory Group provides guidance and consultation to fishery managers before they take in-season management actions or otherwise change allowed fishing patterns and regulations for lingcod (see Appendix C). Advisory groups have the potential to contribute to better informed management decisions, as they have for some regional fishery man- agement councils, as well as better relationships between anglers and managers and scientists.

OCR for page 117
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH 127 Forge Partnerships with Others to Implement Outreach Activities The National Sea Grant system within NOAA provides an estab- lished infrastructure with an outreach mission. NMFS staff could work more closely to reach stakeholder groups already identified by Sea Grant Extension Educators, and Sea Grant professionals may be enlisted to help facilitate dialogue among data collectors, data analysts and assessment scientists, managers, and the recreational fishing community. Other partnerships may build from Memoranda of Agreement that NMFS has already established for other outreach purposes, such as with the National Marine Educators Association, the American Sportfishing Association, BOAT/U.S., and the International Game Fish Association (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2000b). Insights regarding the development and establishment of outreach programs involving anglers, scientists, and managers can be gained by learning from existing programs. If the marine recreational fishing statistics data-gathering effort moves toward more state-based (or regional) implementation, outreach programs become much more feas- ible, in that outreach should be aimed "locally" to respond to the needs of angler-group stakeholders on the scales they most often operate (within the state, statewide, or regionally). One example is the Marine Resource Network that "provides a link between the recreational angling community, research, and fisheries managers. Details on research and projects funded with saltwater license revenues are conveyed to the angling community. This network of some 2,000 individuals establishes a system of volunteers to provide support for outreach and education events" (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2000b). Another example is the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistical Program that has an advisory committee comprising representatives from the commercial and recreational sectors (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2000b). Target Opinion Leaders and Innovators within Recreational Fishing Communities Perceptions of the MRFSS (as well as other surveys) are likely driven less by science and available data than by various opinion leaders and "innovators" in the marine fishing community (recreational fishing organization leaders, tournament anglers, well-known anglers, outdoor writers, and tackle manufacturers and other infrastructure providers) who

OCR for page 117
128 REVIEW OF RECREATIONAL FISHERIES SURVEY METHODS carry particular weight and influence with rank-and-file anglers and whose support therefore is necessary to foster. Neither rank-and-file anglers nor their representatives are likely to embrace better designed surveys on their own without efforts that increase angler knowledge about the surveys and encourage formation of favorable attitudes toward them. NMFS's efforts to communicate with recreational fishing community constituents should recognize that "innovators" and "early adopters" typ- ically comprise a small proportion of any specific community (about 15 percent, according to Rogers [2003]). Other individuals within the recre- ational fishing community are likely to be among the "early majority" (34 percent), the "late majority" (34 percent), and the "laggards" (16 percent). Rogers (2003) describes the latter two categories as being "a skeptical group," adopting new ideas reluctantly. Establishing productive relationships with them will take time and effort. Rogers (2003) identifies five sequential stages in the process of innovation decision making, which apply to outreach with marine recreational and commercial fishing communities. First, individuals need to be exposed to the new and improved surveys and understand how they work. Second, individuals will form either favorable or unfavorable attitudes toward the new surveys and the way in which survey data are used. Third, anglers will need to engage in activities that lead to a decision to accept or reject the new surveys, implying the importance of opportunities to interact regularly in positive, active ways with data collectors and decision makers so that information about how surveys are conducted and used is consistently reinforced. Fourth, implementation occurs when individuals adopt the new survey and the results it provides in support of fisheries management. Finally, the decision to adopt the new innovation (i.e., a new survey approach) must be reinforced by other messages from NMFS that are consistent with what anglers are learning about the operations and value of the new marine recreational fishing survey approach. Anglers may reverse their decision to adopt the new survey and information it provides if they are exposed to messages that conflict with their understandings. Frequent, consistent, positive, and interactive messages are required to promote continued adoption.

OCR for page 117
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH 129 Contact Anglers Directly Onsite, Electronically, and Through Mass Media Much of what has been said already emphasizes the importance of building relationships and of consistent, positive interactions over time. NMFS staff should not expect that anglers will come to them. They should be prepared to go to the anglers. Reaching opinion leaders, as well as rank-and-file, can be done by regular attendance at angler assoc- iation meetings, even to the point of becoming a regular agenda item at meetings. The more frequent, more consistent, and more collegial an outreach message is, the more positively it will be received by the stakeholder groups of interest. As noted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2000b), anglers want "timely feedback to the recreational fishing community in terms of survey findings. They are often asked to provide the data, but they do not hear anything about results. From their point of view, it seems as if the data go into a dark hole. They want systems set up where the information is reported back to them." Regular dialogue with angler groups addresses this need. Work- ing with species-specific constituent organizations may be a feasible approach to address specific questions that link data collection efforts with concerns about stock management. An alternative to meeting anglers onsite is to communicate with anglers directly through electronic means and through mass media. The availability of a list frame for sampling purposes (e.g., state saltwater fishing licenses, a national registry) would also provide an opportunity for fisheries managers and scientists to identify, and thus contact, individual anglers for purposes other than data gathering. Fisheries managers and scientists could regularly produce articles for mainstream, highly subscribed recreational fishing magazines and other outlets. Provide Access to Data and Training on How to Use Them The National Research Council (2000) recommends that NMFS use its internet capability, in a more interactive sense, to provide easily accessible and understandable data visualizations (e.g., graphic plots, maps, pictures), as well as providing the ability to access and manipulate data on marine fisheries. Since 2000, the technology to provide easy access to user-specified data requests has improved, and data users have come to expect convenient access to data summaries. Federal statistical agencies have put considerable resources into developing user-friendly

OCR for page 117
130 REVIEW OF RECREATIONAL FISHERIES SURVEY METHODS interfaces on their websites. Examples of these include the U.S. Census Bureau's fact finder (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006) and the National Center for Education Statistics' National Assessment of Educational Progress Data Explorer (National Center for Education Statistics, 2006). De- veloping such systems should be done in conjunction with stakeholder groups who are likely to use them to ensure that websites are user- friendly and to explain appropriately the limitations and purposes of the data presented. Other recommendations (National Research Council, 2000) include conducting fishery assessment and management simu- lations with real data within a workshop, and including a variety of stakeholder groups who could hear each others' interpretations, concerns, and perspectives (e.g., anglers, commercial fishermen, environmental advocates). CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The success of a communication and outreach program depends on identifying the needs of various stakeholder groups in the marine recreational fishing community and then responding to those needs. Thus far, there has been a lack of confidence with the MRFSS. Improved communication and outreach on data collection efforts, interpretation, and use will improve the credibility of the MRFSS. It is difficult for individual anglers to see the effects of recreational fishing on their target species and to distinguish daily and seasonal fluctuations from trends. As a result, no matter how well designed and implemented a marine recreational survey is, it will not succeed fully without the cooperation of anglers. Unless anglers believe that the survey is well designed and implemented and that it is being used intelligently to address appropriate management issues, they are unlikely to participate. In particular, anglers need to have a basic under- standing of the relationship between a statistically based sampling scheme and the frequency with which each of them is (or is not) contacted by a data collector. If anglers believe that their input is influencing the design and use of surveys, they are more likely to be satisfied with those surveys than otherwise. If anglers understand the basic purposes of recreational fishing survey data, the decisions to which these data are being applied, and how those data are interpreted and used, they are more likely to feel confident that the approaches used are legitimate and are more likely to participate willingly and provide valid information. The MRFSS managers

OCR for page 117
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH 131 should advise anglers and data users on the constraints that apply to the use of the data for various purposes. Managers and anglers also should be informed clearly about any limitations of the data. The MRFSS process and mandate is also in need of a formalized method for periodic evaluation to ensure that the program continually evolves to meet the needs of the stakeholder groups. In addition, the committee feels that a meaningful dialogue between managers and anglers will require more interactions and better relationships between the two groups. Outreach and communication should be institutionalized as part of an ongoing MRFSS program so their importance is acknowledged and appropriate expertise can be developed. Angler associations should be engaged as partners with survey managers through workshops, data collection, survey design, and participation in survey advisory groups. Partnerships with other programs, particularly those with existing outreach programs (such as Sea Grant), could facilitate outreach efforts. Many National Research Council and other reports stress the importance of making use of local and traditional knowledge and capacity building and the involvement of local communities in knowledge-gathering and dissemination activities. Those recommendations apply, as well, to the recreational fishing community and can be used as a resource for future MRFSS outreach efforts.

OCR for page 117