Date of this Version
Front. Ecol. Evol. 7:498.
Resilience thinking has generated much interest among scientific communities, yet most resilience concepts have not materialized into management applications. We believe that using resilience concepts to characterize systems and the social and ecological processes affecting them is a way to integrate resilience into better management decisions. This situation is exemplified by inland recreational fisheries, which represent complex socioecological systems that face unpredictable and unavoidable change. Making management decisions in the context of resilience is increasingly important given mounting environmental and anthropogenic perturbations to inland systems. Herein, we propose a framework that allows resilience concepts to be better incorporated into management by (i) recognizing how current constraints and management objectives focus on desired or undesired systems (specific fish and anglers), (ii) evaluating the state of a system in terms of how both social and ecological forces enforce or erode the desired or undesired system, (iii) identifying the resilience-stage cycles a system state may undergo, and (iv) determining the broad management strategies that may be viable given the system state and resilience stage. We use examples from inland recreational fisheries to illustrate different system state and resilience stages and synthesize several key results. Across all combinations of socioecological forces, five common types of viable management strategies emerge: (i) adopt a different management preference or focus, (ii) change stakeholder attitudes or behaviors via stakeholder outreach, (iii) engage in (sometimes extreme) biological intervention, (iv) engage in fishery intervention, and (v) adopt landscape-level management approaches focusing on achieving different systems in different waters. We then discuss the challenges and weaknesses of our approach, including specifically the cases in which there are multiple strong social forces (i.e., stakeholders holding competing objectives or values) and situations where waters are not readily divisible, such as rivers or great lakes, and in which spatial separation of competing objectives will be difficult. We end with our vision of how we believe these types of operationalized resilience approaches could improve or transform inland recreational fisheries management.