Using posts to an online social network to assess fishing effort
This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.
Fisheries management has evolved from reservoir to watershed management, creating a need to simultaneously gather information within and across interacting reservoirs. However, costs to gather information on the fishing effort on multiple reservoirs using traditional creel methodology are often prohibitive. Angler posts about reservoirs online provide a unique medium to test hypotheses on the distribution of fishing pressure. We show that the activity on an online fishing social network is related to fishing effort and can be used to facilitate management goals. We searched the Nebraska Fish and Game Association Fishing Forum for all references from April 2009 to December 2010 to 19 reservoirs that comprise the Salt Valley regional fishery in southeastern Nebraska. The number of posts was positively related to monthly fishing effort on a regional scale, with individual reservoirs having the most annual posts also having the most annual fishing effort. Furthermore, this relationship held temporally. Online fishing social networks provide the potential to assess effort on larger spatial scales than currently feasible.