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Quantifying subjective human dimensions of recreational fishing: does good health come to those who bait?

Griffiths, Shane P, Bryant, Joanne, Raymond, Henry F, Newcombe, Peter A
Fish and fisheries 2017 v.18 no.1 pp. 171-184
baits, cost effectiveness, fisheries, fisheries management, health surveys, motivation, quality of life, sport fishing
Recreational fishing is a popular sport and leisure activity in many countries worldwide. There has been growing interest by recreational fishing groups and researchers in the perceived physical and psychological health and social (or ‘biopsychosocial’) benefits of recreational fishing. However, quantifying the key subjective ‘human dimensions’ of fishing that satisfy both the needs of recreational fishing groups and fishery managers is a major obstacle. We propose the use of psychometrically valid health‐related quality of life (HRQOL) measures widely used in the medical and health sciences – namely the Short‐Form Health Survey (SF‐36) – as rapid, reliable and cost‐effective instruments for quantifying HRQOL of recreational fishers. The widespread use of SF‐36 and availability of population normative data allows comparisons of the HRQOL of recreational fishers across multiple temporal and spatial scales, with participants of other activities, and the general population. The use of such measures in periodic surveys allows the biopsychosocial status of a recreational fishery's participants to be assessed using a modified Kobe plot, a graphical format that is easily interpretable and consistent with existing reporting formats used in fisheries stock assessment. Future biopsychosocial research in recreational fisheries can further benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration to develop a suite of standardized psychometrically valid and reliable instruments for assessing specific issues that commonly affect recreational fisheries from regional to international scales, such as drivers of fisher motivation, behaviour and satisfaction.